Turkey May Lift Headscarf Ban

Constitutional reform would permit Muslim garb in universities
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2007 2:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – A debate is raging in secular Turkey over the ban on headscarves that has resulted in Muslim women who don them being barred from universities since 1980. Now, PM Erdogan is considering drafting a new constitution with a less stringent dress code that has made many Turkish women hopeful—and many staunch secularists nervous, Der Spiegel reports.

"Freedom of religion and conscience is a part of democracy that cannot be neglected," Erdogan said this week. "The same applies to the right to obtain an education." Detractors see revoking the ban as a step toward Turkey's Islamization, leading to "separate classes for men and women," as one critic said. Erdogan has promised to let citizens decide in a national referendum.