Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Now SYRIA bans the burka and niqab in universities as backlash against Muslim veil grows

Syria has banned face-covering Islamic veils from the country’s universities.

The surprise move comes as similar moves in Europe – including controversial calls in Britain for a ban on burkas – have sparked cries of discrimination against Muslims.

The crackdown was ordered by the secular government in Damascus amid fears of increasing Islamic extremism among young Muslim students.

Syria is not a Muslim country. An official at the ministry says the ban affects public and private universities and aims to protect the country's secular identity.

Banned: The niqab, left, which covers the face and head but leaves the eyes exposed, and the burka, right, which covers even the eyes with a mesh mask, have both been banned in Syrian universities

Still accepted: The hijab, a scarf that covers the head
but leaves the face exposed, is common in Syria

Sunday’s ban includes women wearing niqabs, veils covering the head and mouth while leaving  the eyes exposed, and the head-to-toe burkas, which also cover the eyes with a mesh mask.

It did not include the hijab, or headscarf, which many Syrian women wear.

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