Syria bans niqab (2010)
A Syrian act of protecting secular identity has caught international attention. A ban issued on Sunday, 18 July 2010, prohibits the wearing of niqabs at public and private universities. The Syrian Ministry of Education, under minister Ghiath Barakat’s orders, expressed that wearing the niqab will not be allowed for either students or professors, and a student wearing the niqab will not be eligible to register for university courses.
The reason for this ban stems from the discomforted students and parents who see the veil as a security obstacle and a facilitative factor to cheating during tests. On a broader level, critics see the niqab as a symbol for extremism, something not in accordance with Gender Equality in Gender Equality in Syria secular society.
The ban has nevertheless, caused much discussion. Recently France passed a vote to ban Islamic face veils. Consequently, the spreading discussion of this topic indicates a possible international trend. For non-Islamic countries, passing this controversial vote is argued to reduce extremism and promote integration of Muslim immigrants.
Syria’s population, who is 93 % Muslim, has by this vote been reassured of the countries secularism, despite the Muslim Brotherhoods recent activity. Even though many say that Syria is following France’s footsteps, one must consider that only the niqab has been prohibited and the law is effective in only university campuses
- Freedom of dress