Turkey to Lift Head Scarf Ban at Universities

Agreement alarms secular elite, which fears Islamist rule
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2008 4:54 PM CST
Girls wearing Islamic head scarves play in a park in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22, 2004. Turkey's Islamic-rooted prime minister called Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007 for lifting a ban on women wearing head scarves...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Turkey is expected to do away with a 2-decade-old ban on women wearing head scarves at the nation’s universities as early as next week. The prospect alarms the country’s secular elite, who see the country on a slippery slope to Islamist rule, Der Spiegel reports. “The logic is one of fear,” explains the director of a Turkish think tank.

“If you allow the head scarf today" he says, "they will declare a Sharia state in 10 years.” Their opposition is a growing middle class that tends to be conservative and wants to be allowed  to practice Islam more freely. Two leading conservative political parties reached a deal yesterday to lift the ban, which discourages many devout Muslim women from enrolling in universities.