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Headscarf Controversy Goes GlobalAdd to Queue

  • Posted by : American University of Beirut

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970


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Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs in collaboration with the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration and the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies held a lecture Headscarf Controversy Goes Global by Hilal Elver Turkey was the only Muslim country where a headscarf ban in schools, universities and public institutions existed in early 1990s. In the aftermath of 9/11, there occurred a troubling exclusion of pious Muslim women from the public sphere in the name of secularism, democracy, liberalism, and women's rights. These policies have escalated in the United States, and Europe, especially domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights, are increasingly influenced by social pressures concerning immigration and multiculturalism, and by attitudes expressed via Islamophobia, the 'war on terror,' and 'homeland security.' As a result, many Western governments have failed to recognize and protect essential individual freedoms. While exclusion of pious women from public spaces is spreading in many countries where Muslims are a minority, the Turkish headscarf case is becoming a politico-legal battle among lawyers, judges, and politicians in Turkey. Elver argues that law can be used to change underlying social conditions shaping the social contract, role of religion, and the position of women in modern society. Hilal Elver is a Research Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she has been Distinguished Visiting Professor since 2002. Previously she was the United Nations Environment Programme Chair on Environmental Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta; and taught at the University of Ankara, Faculty of Law, where she received her law degree and, a Ph.D, she also has SJD degree from UCLA Law School. She teaches comparative-international law, international human rights law, and global environmental law. Her most recent book is "The Headscarf Controversy, Secularism and Freedom of Religion".

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