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Alaturka

‘Khan al-Ahmar to remain Palestinian land’

By Zeynep Tufekci

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Palestinian Bedouin hamlet of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank will remain Palestinian land, a young Palestinian woman who had been detained by Israeli authorities said Tuesday.

Nineteen-year-old Sare, who on July 5 was violently dragged on the ground in Khan al-Ahmar by Israeli forces after they tore off her headscarf, was released after being remanded in custody for about two weeks. Video and photos of the incident went viral on social media.

“I did not commit any crime to be taken into custody. I just tried to protect my house and homeland, ” she told Anadolu Agency.

Sare also thanked everyone who supported the resistance against Israel's attempt to evict the area’s residents.

On July 5, Israeli bulldozers destroyed a number of tents and other structures in Khan al-Ahmar, triggering clashes with local residents.

There are 46 Bedouin communities scattered across Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem inhabited by some 3,000 residents.

Under the 1995 Oslo agreement between Israel and Palestine, the West Bank was divided into A, B and C zones. The administrative and security authority of area A was given to Palestine while the administration of area B was given to Palestine but its security to Israel, while in area C, both administration and security authority went to Israel.

Khan al-Ahmar is located in area C.

Meanwhile, the 700-person Bedouin community in Abu Nuwar village, also located in area C, has refused to leave despite continuous threats and pressure from the Israeli authorities.

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Alaturka

Nigeria: Headscarved law student gets belated due

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – A female Nigerian law student banned from last year’s call to bar ceremony for wearing a headscarf was finally called to the bar on Tuesday, sparking praise and elation among the nation's Muslims.

In 2017 Firdaus Amasa was denied access to the call to bar ceremony in the capital Abuja for insisting on wearing her headscarf in the hall, triggering a backlash from the country's Muslim community, which accused the law school of religious discrimination. The controversy led to lawsuits, especially after Nigeria’s parliament called a public hearing on the issue.

Amasa attended the Tuesday event wearing her headscarf, commending the authorities for standing down their opposition to her choice as well as the Muslim and human rights communities for “standing by her during the struggle.”

Nigeria's Body of Benchers (BOD), an ultra-conservative body of serving and retired senior judges and lawyers with the final say on the codes applicable for the legal profession, last month resolved to induct Amasa into the legal practice despite ongoing court cases on the matter. The BOD is not party to any of the court cases.

Her induction led to jubilation within the Muslim community. On Wednesday, the JusticeForFridaus coalition is set to hold a news briefing on the matter featuring the young jurist herself.

Headscarves have become a contentious issue in Nigeria, as some government institutions attempted to restrict their use amid protests and litigation by the Muslim community.

In 2016 an appeals court held that headscarves are a fundamental human rights of every female Muslim and may be worn anywhere of her choice, striking down a government circular that had restricted its use in public schools.

The government has appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.

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Alaturka

Austria: Chancellor meets Muslim body over headscarf ban

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA (AA) – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in a meeting with representatives of the country's Muslim body on Friday reiterated his stance on a headscarf ban in kindergarten and primary schools.

Kurz met Ibrahim Olgun, the head of the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria (IGGO) and the authority's representative for women Carla Amina Baghajati.

“I told the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria that as the Austrian government, we are determined to put the headscarf ban into effect in kindergartens and primary schools, ” he said after the meeting.

Olgun, speaking to Anadolu Agency, said that Austrian Muslims will challenge the ban legally, adding that the headscarf is not a political symbol.

“We told Mr. Chancellor that the headscarf is a religious subject. Muslims do it out of their free will. There is no force or pressure, and a majority of Muslim families don't make their children cover their heads in kindergartens or primary schools.

“But we can't understand the Chancellor's manner about it, ” Olgun said.

He expressed fears that the ban may be extended to high schools and universities.

Austria's new coalition government, consisting of the far-right Freedom Party and centre-right Austrian People's Party, is aiming to create a draft law to ban young Muslim girls to wear headscarves in kindergartens and primary schools, a culture which they say attacks the country's mainstream culture.

In the elections last October, the coalition campaigned against the influx of immigrants in Europe.

In Austria, where Islam has been one of the officially recognized religions since 1912, there is a population of over 600,000 Muslims, corresponding to seven percent of the population, according to figures obtained from the Vienna Islamic Federation.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Belgium court allows students to wear headscarf

By Serife Cetin

BRUSSELS (AA)- A local court in Belgium ruled on Friday that a headscarf ban at local schools was against religious freedom.

Parents of 11 students took action against a ban on the headscarf at Flemish schools in the Maasmechelen region.

The court said that it took into account provisions made in the European Treaty on Human Rights and decided that all E.U. countries should allow its citizens to practice their religion in complete freedom.

The court ruling does not cover a general ban on Flemish schools in the region but the 11 students will be able to wear headscarves in their schools 30 days later.

Coskun Beyazgul, the general manager of the Belgium Diyanet Foundation, which is linked to Turkey’s top religious body, said that the agency also took part in the case to support students.

He said that the court ruling would be an example for other cases in the country.

In 2015, Belgium’s Flemish Community Education Authority (GO!) banned headscarves at state-run Flemish schools.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Iranian women protest obligatory headscarf rules

By Elahe Salari, Mustafa Melih Ahishali

ISTANBUL (AA) – At least five women in the Iranian capital Tehran protested the country’s compulsory headscarf rules by waving theirs on sticks, social media postings showed on Monday.

One of the women who removed her headscarf and waved it on a stick staged her protest in the Tehran’s busy Enqelab Street.

Other women followed suit with similar acts to protest the compulsory headscarf rule.

The first such act of protest occurred in December and was staged by Vida Movahed, who was eventually arrested.

According to Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, Movahed was released this past Saturday.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Muslim trainee lawyer in Italy humiliated over ejection

By Ecenur Colak

ROME (AA) – A Moroccan-born Muslim trainee lawyer said Monday she felt humiliated after a judge ejected her last week from an administrative court in northern Italy for refusing to remove her headscarf.

At a hearing in a regional administrative court in Bologna, Asmae Belfakir was asked by Judge Giancarlo Mozzarelli to either remove her headscarf or leave the courtroom.

“I entered the courtroom with all the other lawyers involved in that case. The judge started to say: `Can you remove?’ He didn’t even say `hijab` and wasn’t looking at me. I thought he just wanted someone to remove their coat. I couldn’t have imagined he was talking to me. Then I looked him in the eyes and realized. I was upset and I said, finishing his sentence, ‘the hijab?’” Belfakir said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

“Immediately afterwards, he said: 'Yes. If you want to stay in this courtroom, you must remove it.'”

“I replied, ‘I’m not going to remove it. I’m going out.’”

She said that while she was opening the door, he said to the audience: “Yes, that’s because of the respect of our culture and traditions.”

“Hearing a judge speaking of culture and tradition in that context made me feel really bad. I was just there to learn a job, to understand how the law should be applied. I wasn’t there to be humiliated because of my religion, ” she said.

“I heard a lot of things about that judge; his modus operandi and his personal thoughts,” Belfakir said.

“I’m pretty sure that he would never have asked a nun to remove her veil, and I’m quite sure because a nun is not insulting his culture as I did by wearing the scarf. ”

Belfakir said the judge should have known why she was wearing a scarf and that it was not affecting the judicial hearing or her skills as a trainee lawyer.

“In this case, the law should protect people and their freedom of religion – as it is not affecting in a negative way the others — no matter how difficult it gets.”

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Austrian minister’s headscarf remark worry Muslims

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA (AA) – Recent remarks by Austria's newly appointed Education Minister Heinz Fassmann against the headscarf have raised concerns for Muslims living in the country.

Fassmann's interview published in local Kurier newspaper on Friday quoted him saying “teachers should not wear a headscarf. ”

When asked about his opinion on the headscarf ban, Fassmann said: “Yes, I have a sympathy for the secular state and find that teachers should not wear a headscarf, except religious and private school teachers.”

The coalition government formed by Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) earlier this month, has an anti-Islam and anti-immigrant stance.

Reacting to the interview, President of Islamic Religious Authority in Austria (IGGO) Ibrahim Olgun told Anadolu Agency: “Headscarf is our red line.”

“For this reason, we will never allow such an attempt. We will do all we can to prevent the headscarf ban to commence, and we will carry the issue to the constitutional court if necessary, ” he added.

Olgun said that the community will meet the minister to speak on the issue and clearly express its reservations.

“We think that behind the desire to ban the headscarf lies anti-Islamism,” Olgun added.

Islamic Federation of Vienna (IFW) General Secretary Harun Erciyas said: “Claiming that teachers with headscarves are contrary to the principle of impartiality actually means insulting their [the teachers’] education and labor. We certainly do not approve of this.

“The Islamic Community, an official institution of the country, describes the headscarf as part of Islam. For this reason, if you remove the people with headscarves from the government, you also remove all the members of this religion from the public and, naturally, it will be discriminating.”

Fatih Karakoca, Austria president of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), said the minister's remarks were “unfortunate “.

He went on to say that while there are many problems to be resolved in Austria, the extreme right coalition is bent on creating division and tension in the society.

“Those who want to hide behind secularism and bring a ban on teachers with headscarves today will spread this to all areas, including students, causing unrest in society tomorrow,” Karakoca said.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Austrian minister's headscarf remark worry Muslims

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA (AA) – Recent remarks by Austria's newly appointed Education Minister Heinz Fassmann against the headscarf have raised concerns for Muslims living in the country.

Fassmann's interview published in local Kurier newspaper on Friday quoted him saying “teachers should not wear a headscarf. ”

When asked about his opinion on the headscarf ban, Fassmann said: “Yes, I have a sympathy for the secular state and find that teachers should not wear a headscarf, except religious and private school teachers.”

The coalition government formed by Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) earlier this month, has an anti-Islam and anti-immigrant stance.

Reacting to the interview, President of Islamic Religious Authority in Austria (IGGO) Ibrahim Olgun told Anadolu Agency: “Headscarf is our red line.”

“For this reason, we will never allow such an attempt. We will do all we can to prevent the headscarf ban to commence, and we will carry the issue to the constitutional court if necessary, ” he added.

Olgun said that the community will meet the minister to speak on the issue and clearly express its reservations.

“We think that behind the desire to ban the headscarf lies anti-Islamism,” Olgun added.

Islamic Federation of Vienna (IFW) General Secretary Harun Erciyas said: “Claiming that teachers with headscarves are contrary to the principle of impartiality actually means insulting their [the teachers’] education and labor. We certainly do not approve of this.

“The Islamic Community, an official institution of the country, describes the headscarf as part of Islam. For this reason, if you remove the people with headscarves from the government, you also remove all the members of this religion from the public and, naturally, it will be discriminating.”

Fatih Karakoca, Austria president of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), said the minister's remarks were “unfortunate “.

He went on to say that while there are many problems to be resolved in Austria, the extreme right coalition is bent on creating division and tension in the society.

“Those who want to hide behind secularism and bring a ban on teachers with headscarves today will spread this to all areas, including students, causing unrest in society tomorrow,” Karakoca said.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Nigeria: Outrage after law school bars headscarf

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigerian Muslims and civil rights activists are outraged after the country's law school barred a Muslim student from a call to the bar ceremony after she refused to remove her head covering on religious grounds.

The controversy has seized local social media, as activists questioned the decision of the Nigerian Law School, citing a recent Appeals Court ruling which upheld the right of Muslim women to wear the head covering anywhere.

Abdulsalam Fridaus Amasa said she was denied entry into the hall in the Nigerian capital, Abuja on Thursday “simply because I insisted on wearing my hijab ” or headscarf.

“I broke no law by insisting on wearing my hijab as a Muslim lady, ” she said on Friday in a statement seen by Anadolu Agency.

She also confirmed the incident to Anadolu Agency in a phone interview.

Ahmad Adetola-Kazeem, an activist and Muslim lawyer, blasted the law school's decision.

“The action of the law school is null and void based on the provisions of the Constitution such as sections 38 and 42, which allow freedom of religion, freedom to exhibit one's religious views, and freedom from discrimination on the ground of one's religious orientation, ” Adetola-Kazeem said in a phone interview.

“What happened yesterday was sheer discrimination against the Muslim student based on her religion. ”

-'No law school rule barring headscarves'

He added that the school had no legislation or rules barring wearing Muslim headscarves.

“We have asked this question over the years but nobody has produced any regulation of the law school that bars headscarves, ” he said, adding that the action effectively barred Amasa from practicing law in Nigeria.

“We’re taking steps to address this issue. The Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria is meeting on it. We are definitely not going to let it go like that, ” he said, insisting that the court of appeals ruling was binding on “all institutions in Nigeria, including the law school “.

Kayode Ogundamisi, a fiery London-based Nigerian activist, criticized the law school in a post that has gone viral on social media.

“#EndDiscriminationAgainstHijab the oyinbos [whites] who dashed you wig and gown are beginning to recognise diverse faith-based dress codes in different professions. Call the lady to bar. Interesting how Twitter HUMAN LIES activists went blind on this,” he wrote on Twitter.

Officials at the law school declined to comment.

“I don't have any reaction or independent opinion on the development now. We are meeting on it, ” Ukekwe Chinedu, spokesman for the prestigious school, told Anadolu Agency on Friday morning.

Headscarves have become controversial in Nigeria, as public schools and some institutions repeatedly bar Muslim women from using it, provoking legal cases that have been decided in favor of the latter.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal by the Lagos state government of an appeals court ruling upholding the right to wear headscarves in public schools.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Netherlands allows police officers to wear headscarves

By Abdullah Asiran

UTRECHT, Netherlands (AA) – A new ruling in the Netherlands will allow policewomen serving in certain positions to wear headscarves.

The Human Rights Council ruling came Monday over a complaint by Sarah Izat, 26, a police officer who wore a headscarf, after she was dismissed over violating the dress code.

The Dutch National Police had claimed that religious symbols are incompatible with police uniforms both to ensure neutrality and the officers’ safety.

But the council said Izat was mainly answering emergency calls in the police department where there was limited contact with the public.

The council’s decision is non-binding, but the police will probably abide by it, as previously its chief said that they were open to allowing officers to wear headscarves.

“We Won! The Council confirms just: I have the right to wear uniform and headscarf. This means everything and this is a victory for all of us! ” Izat wrote on her Twitter account.