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Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2008

President OKs head scarves at universities

February 23, 2008

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— Turkey's president approved on Friday a pair of constitutional amendments that would allow female students to wear Islamic head scarves at universities.

The legislation, which has polarized Turkey and exposed the deep gap between the Islamic-rooted government and the military-led secular establishment, is expected to face a legal challenge from opponents on grounds that the amendments violate Turkey's secular constitution.

Turkey's parliament - dominated by members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted party - voted 411-103 on Feb. 9 to approve two amendments adding paragraphs to the constitution. They say that everyone has the right to equal treatment from state institutions and "no one can be deprived of (his or her) right to higher education."

The changes had to be approved by President Abdullah Gul, an observant Muslim whose wife and daughter wear head scarves.

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