Main | Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Syria Bans Veils At Universities

Syria has joined the growing movement to ban veiled women, telling its universities that they may not enroll women who wear the niqab, a full veil that shows only the eyes.
The order affects both public and private universities and aims to protect Syria's secular identity, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. Hundreds of primary school teachers who were wearing the niqab at government-run schools were transferred last month to administrative jobs, he added. The ban, issued Sunday by the Education Ministry, does not affect the hijab, or headscarf, which is far more common in Syria than the niqab's billowing black robes. Syria is the latest in a string of nations from Europe to the Middle East to weigh in on the veil, perhaps the most visible symbol of conservative Islam. Veils have spread in other secular-leaning Arab countries, such as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, with Jordan's government trying to discourage them by playing up reports of robbers who wear veils as masks.
Last week France's lower legislative chamber voted nearly unanimously to ban the wearing of burqas and niqabs anywhere in public.

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