DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria has banned the face-covering Islamic veil from the country’s universities, as similar moves in Europe spark cries of discrimination against Muslims.
The Education Ministry issued the ban Sunday, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly. The ban affects public and private universities and aims to protect Syria’s secular identity, he said.
Sunday’s ban does not affect the headscarf, which many Syrian women wear.
The niqab is not widespread in Syria, although it has become more common recently — a move that has not gone unnoticed in a country governed by a secular, authoritarian regime.
“We have given directives to all universities to ban niqab-wearing women from registering,” the government official told The Associated Press on Monday.
The niqab “contradicts university ethics,” he added.
He also confirmed that hundreds of primary school teachers who were wearing the niqab at government-run schools were transferred last month to administrative jobs.
Syria is the latest country to weigh in on the niqab, perhaps the most visible hallmark of strict, conservative Islam. European countries including France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands are considering similar bans on the grounds that the veils are degrading to women. Opponents say such bans violate freedom of religion and will stigmatize all Muslims.
Source: Muslim Matters Website
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, what are we going to do about this?