Syria has banned the face-covering Islamic veil from the country's universities to prevent what it sees as a threat to its secular identity, as similar moves in Europe spark cries of discrimination against Muslims.And Syria is not the only Muslim country that is cool to the idea of allowing women to wear niqabs:
The Education Ministry issued the ban Sunday, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.
The ban, which affects public and private universities, is only against the niqab - a full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes - not headscarves, which are far more commonly worn by Syrian women.
The billowing black robe known as a niqab is not widespread in Syria, although it has become more common recently - a move that has not gone unnoticed in a country governed by a secular, authoritarian regime.
Syria is the latest country to weigh in on the veil, perhaps the most visible hallmark of conservative Islam. The wearing of veils has spread in other secular-leaning Arab countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, as well, with Jordan's government trying to discourage it by playing up reports of robbers who wear veils as masks.Maybe European countries considering the ban should take note of justification these Muslim countries are giving for outlawing the niqab. They are not saying, as France and the other countries say, that wearing the niqab is demeaning to women (regardless of what you think of the Koran's stand on women)--instead these countries are saying straight out that they consider the veil to be contrary to the secular nature and secular laws of their country.
Turkey also bans Muslim headscarves in universities, with many saying attempts to allow them in schools amount to an attack on modern Turkey's secular laws.
Pity that Europe does not have the wherewithal to mention that as well.
Technorati Tag: Syria and Niqab.