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The Headscarf ControversySecularism and Freedom of Religion$
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Hilal Elver

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769292.001.0001

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(p.186) 9 Conclusion
The Headscarf Controversy

Hilal Elver

Oxford University Press

In concluding chapter an evaluation is offered of all outcomes of the political and social arguments and court decisions in previously mentioned countries. Throughout the book several conclusions are reached. First, the headscarf controversy extends beyond an individual's freedom of religion, giving rise to the socio-political consequences of being "other," an effect of being a minority religion in Europe and in the United States. In Turkey however, the debate is embedded in its unique history, and the struggle in a religious society to establish and maintain a secular democracy based on the acceptance and representation of heterogeneous culture. Such a goal is compatible with the authoritarian and unchangeable features of the Turkish nation state in early 20th century. Second, the headscarf debate is strongly gendered and this aspects of the debate, is often obscured. The suffering of women who choose to wear a headscarf is an instance of acute discrimination, but as yet has not produced much concern in otherwise liberal democracies. Third, international law in general and international human right courts in particular have failed to protect the individual rights of Muslim women, causing them much grief.

Keywords:   the role of the domestic and international courts and judges, lautsi v italy on crucifix at the echr, burqa debate

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