July 19, 2010

Syria Bans Veils at Universities

(Damascus, Syria) Syrian Education Minister Ghaith Barakat has banned women from wearing full-face veils on university campuses.

Reportedly, parents requested the measure to keep their children from being educated in an "environment of extremism."

The minister's decree follows a decision last month to dismiss 1200 Syrian school teachers who wear the face veil in class. Education officials, at the time, stressed that Syria was a "secular society," and that extremism is "unacceptable."

Al-Arabiya TV quoted an education ministry official, who argued the niqab was "against academic principles" as well as "campus regulations." He also called the practice an "ideological invasion." Syria's ruling Ba'ath Party denounced niqab-wearing at a recent conference.

Obviously, the ruling will sharpen the divide between fundamentalist Muslims and their pro-Western counterparts.

However, Syria's political friends such as Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah likely will be far from pleased with the veil ban. On an individual level, some fear has been expressed that women attending school without veils may be threatened.

By at 09:26 PM | Comments |