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The Islamic Headscarf Problem before Secular Legal Systems: Factual and Legal Developments in Turkish, French and European Human Rights Laws

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The Islamic headscarf problem is bound to form a risk of clash of civilizations between Western and Muslim cultures. In Turkey, the Islamic headscarf constitutes a significant symbol or cause of battle between a powerful ultra-secularist Kemalist bureaucracy and moderate but also opportunist Islamist politics. In France, despite previous judicial solution, the legal headscarves ban in (merely public) schools seems to be a political message to the conservative and nationalist electorate in the name of Republicanism. The European Court of Human Rights' legalization of headscarves bans tends to be a legal coup de main for the contenders against Islamist radicalism. Dealing with this problem responsibly following rational legal standard – as described and proposed in this article – could surprisingly demonstrate that a consensus is possible concerning such a big problem between two cultures.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Law at Ankara University;, Email:


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