Secular Turkey unveiled
As Turkey continues in its desperate attempt to be recognized and accepted by the wider European community, and asserts itself as the bastion of all things secular, the Turkish model has successfully managed to expose the farce that secularism espouses of tolerance and safeguarding freedoms. While some would argue that the attempts by particular European nations to stifle the rise of adherence to Islam by Muslims within their societies may be somewhat expected, it seems incredulous that a majority Muslim country would treat its own population like a minority and deny them their rights.
The hijab ban in Turkey now affects 75% of Muslim women living there and has had an enormous impact on their lives. It has not only been banned in state-run schools and universities, denying them their basic right to an education but has also affected civil servants, private colleges, driving license courses, court rooms and even some hospitals. Cases of Muslim women being sacked from their jobs have become all too widespread. Thousands of women have chosen to opt out of University education due to the ban. The women of Turkey who wear the hijab, fulfilling a simple religious duty have been catapulted into defending their dress code. This crass politicisation of a piece of cloth by the Turkish government has left these women no choice but to either drop out of education altogether or to find private means of furthering their studies.
And if this in itself were not enough of a sign of the failings of secular ideals, it comes as no surprise that even political figures in Turkey have not been spared the wrath of the secular whip. The first Muslim woman in Turkey who wore her hijab in the oath-taking ceremony after winning a parliamentary seat faced the humiliating taunts of hundreds of secularists demanding her expulsion and shouting ‘get out!’.
Thus Turkey’s attempts to promote its ultra secular values seems to have lost any credibility. While on the one hand it bans women from dressing modestly, on the other hand it has ruled that adultery is acceptable. A point highlighting the absolute moral bankruptcy of secular values.
And while the secular European Court of Human rights claims to protect and expand such rights, it had no qualms about upholding Turkey’s hijab ban when a case was brought before it regarding a Muslim woman who was unable to study in a Turkish university due to her headscarf. This all begs the question as to what set of beliefs it is in the 21st century that really are extreme and strip people of their rights?
However, the growing pressure to overturn the hijab ban reflects the continuing confidence that Muslim women in Turkey and throughout the world now feel in using Islam and the Islamic model as a template to create a more just and civilised society. Globally, Muslim women have understood that their position in society will only be elevated with the return of the Caliphate state that will protect the honour and dignity of all women whether Muslim or non-Muslim. It is this state alone that will enable Muslim women to practice their religious obligations without harassment while simultaneously securing their right to education, employment and enable them to have an active political role – all within an environment of respect and protection of the morality of the society.
It is not a state that drowns in contradictions – espousing freedoms on one hand while stripping women of their basic rights on the other. This secular hypocrisy in Turkey is now being met with a growing tide of Muslim women who will not accept the indignity of this situation. They are therefore not only seeking to overturn this ban and expose the failings of these secular values but are calling for a Khilafah system which they know will protect their honour, their dignity and their right to be full and active members of the society.