Refleksi : Apa komentar Anda tentang pemerintah Syria melarang wanita memakai 
cador di universitas? 

Sebagai tambahan informasi bahwa sebelumnya yaitu pada tahun 1920-an 
pemerintahan Mustafa Kemal Ataturk di Turki melarang wanita memakai jilbab, 
cador dan burqa di segala instnasi pemerintah termasuk universitas.

Syria bans full Islamic face veils at universities
By ALBERT AJI and ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY (AP) - 16 hours ago

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syria has forbidden the country's students and teachers from 
wearing the niqab - the full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes - 
taking aim at a garment many see as political.

The ban shows a rare point of agreement between Syria's secular, authoritarian 
government and the democracies of Europe: Both view the niqab as a potentially 
destabilizing threat.

"We have given directives to all universities to ban niqab-wearing women from 
registering," a government official in Damascus told The Associated Press on 

The order affects both public and private universities and aims to protect 
Syria's secular identity, said the official, who spoke on condition of 
anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. 
Hundreds of primary school teachers who were wearing the niqab at 
government-run schools were transferred last month to administrative jobs, he 

The ban, issued Sunday by the Education Ministry, does not affect the hijab, or 
headscarf, which is far more common in Syria than the niqab's billowing black 

Syria is the latest in a string of nations from Europe to the Middle East to 
weigh in on the veil, perhaps the most visible symbol of conservative Islam. 
Veils have spread in other secular-leaning Arab countries, such as Egypt, 
Jordan and Lebanon, with Jordan's government trying to discourage them by 
playing up reports of robbers who wear veils as masks.

Turkey bans Muslim headscarves in universities, with many saying attempts to 
allow them in schools amount to an attack on modern Turkey's secular laws.

The issue has been debated across Europe, where France, Spain, Belgium and the 
Netherlands are considering banning the niqab on the grounds it is degrading to 

Last week, France's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on 
both the niqab and the burqa, which covers even a woman's eyes, in an effort to 
define and protect French values - a move that angered many in the country's 
large Muslim community.

The measure goes before the Senate in September; its biggest hurdle could come 
when France's constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it later. A controversial 
2004 law in France earlier prohibited Muslim headscarves and other 
"ostentatious" religious symbols in the classrooms of French primary and 
secondary public schools.

Opponents say such bans violate freedom of religion and personal choice, and 
will stigmatize all Muslims.

In Damascus, a 19-year-old university student who would give only her first 
name, Duaa, said she hopes to continue wearing her niqab to classes when the 
next term begins in the fall, despite the ban.

Otherwise, she said, she will not be able to study.

"The niqab is a religious obligation," said the woman, who would not give her 
surname because she was uncomfortable speaking out against the ban. "I cannot 
go without it."

Nadia, a 44-year-old science teacher in Damascus who was reassigned last month 
because of her veil, said: "Wearing my niqab is a personal decision."

"It reflects my freedom," she said, also declining to give her full name.

In European countries, particularly France, the debate has turned on questions 
of how to integrate immigrants and balance a minority's rights with secular 
opinion that the garb is an affront to women.

But in the Middle East - particularly Syria and Egypt, where there have been 
efforts to ban the niqab in the dorms of public universities - experts say the 
issue underscores the gulf between the secular elite and largely impoverished 
lower classes who find solace in religion.

Some observers say the bans also stem in part from fear of dissent.

The niqab is not widespread in Syria, although it has become more common in 
recent years, a development that has not gone unnoticed by the authoritarian 

"We are witnessing a rapid income gap growing in Syria - there is a wealthy 
ostentatious class of people who are making money and wearing European 
clothes," said Joshua Landis, an American professor and Syria expert who runs a 
blog called Syria Comment.

The lower classes are feeling the squeeze, he said.

"It's almost inevitable that there's going to be backlash. The worry is that 
it's going to find its expression in greater Islamic radicalism," Landis said.

Four decades of secular rule under the Baath Party have largely muted sectarian 
differences in Syria, although the state is quick to quash any dissent. In the 
1980s, Syria crushed a bloody campaign by Sunni militants to topple the regime 
of then-President Hafez Assad.

The veil is linked to Salafism, a movement that models itself on early Islam 
with a doctrine that is similar to Saudi Arabia's. In the broad spectrum of 
Islamic thought, Salafism is on the extreme conservative end.

In Gaza, radical Muslim groups encourage women to cover their faces and even 
conceal the shape of their shoulders by using layers of drapes.

It's a mistake to view the niqab as a "personal freedom," Bassam Qadhi, a 
Syrian women's rights activist, told local media recently.

"It is rather a declaration of extremism," Qadhi said.

Kennedy reported from Beirut.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

Related articles
  a.. Syria: Islamic Scarf That Leaves Only Eyes Exposed Is Banned 
  New York Times - 8 hours ago
  b.. Syria bans veils at universities 
  One News Page - 1 day ago
  c.. Syria bans veiled faces in universities 
  The Express Tribune - 1 day ago

      Photo 1 of 5   
      Arab women wear the niqab, a face-covering Islamic veil, as they shop in 
Souk Al-Hamediah, Damascus' oldest market, Syria, Monday, July 19, 2010. Syria 
has banned the face-covering Islamic veil from the country's universities. The 
Education Ministry's ban on the niqab comes as similar moves in Europe spark 
cries of discrimination against Muslims. An official at the ministry says the 
ban affects public and private universities and aims to protect Syria's secular 
identity. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)



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