Once again the Muslim woman, so long the object of controversy in the Islam-West debate, is under assault; but this time it's the self-proclaimed enlightended folk who feel fit to tell her what she can and can't wear:
"In its ruling, the court said that measures taken in universities "to prevent certain fundamentalist religious movements from pressuring students who do not practise the religion in question or those belonging to another religion" could be justified under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Bans issued in the name of the separation of church and state could therefore be considered "necessary in a democratic society", it added."
What right does a court, which purports to uphold "separation of church and state", have to interefere in what is and isn't a religious requirement of a Muslim, female or otherwise? If the court had limited itself to simply saying that the Turkish state can ban the wearing of a "religious symbol", because it's belief in secularism demands it, that would have sufficed. But they have stepped over the limit in passing a verdict on what the headscarf is meant or not meant to symbolise. The implication in this ruling is that a Muslim woman who wears the headscarf is associating herself with "certain fundamentalist religious movements." Utter nonsense.
The court is basing its verdict on various assumptions, one of them being the much-heralded "separation of church and state". On closer examination, however, we see that this "separation" is non-existent, for how can there be "separation" when a state can determine the limits of religion, as well determine what it means to be "religious"?
Notice the words too: 'bans issued in the name of the separation of church and state are necessary in a democratic state'. Never was the phrase "there is no god and Attaturk is his prophet" any more an apt description. We are now faced with bans issued in the name of a certain historical, sometimes contradictory and multi-layered, often complex and unexamined, understanding of ourselves and the world. And yet secular acolytes call the religious "supersitious"!
Secular, often liberal, apologists will harp on about the 'oppressed Muslim woman', because behind every Muslim woman who decides to wear the headscarf is an evil Muslim man, (father, husband, brother, etc.) who happens to be 'forcing' her. But it is they who deny the Muslim woman the right to speak for herself; it is they who make unwarranted assumptions about the Muslim woman and what she feels; it is they who remove agency from her. And so it is they who are doing the 'oppressing'.
Secular fundamentalists are often not that different to their religious cousins, who they claim to hate so much; they alone know what's best for all, and they alone have knowledge of everything.
It just so happens the two wear a different football jersey.