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Faith On Display!

Some have given up wearing hijabs (or headscarves or veils worn by Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family), while some have announced their decision, with pride, by posting their images on the social media and also by taking part in #10YearChallenge and #1YearChallenge – the latest social media craze. They have been facing severe criticism for removing their hijabs. However, girls in Turkey have decided to carry the movement forward!
There has always been a debate on the hijab in Turkey. Women were not allowed to cover their heads with hijabs in government offices or educational institutions in the past. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has gradually removed the restriction in the last 10 years. The secular institutions still believe that hijab symbolises political and religious conservatism! They also believe that religious motives have prompted the Erdoğan administration to make such a move. Now, the conservative Muslims want all the female members of their households to wear hijabs!
Like other participants (of the #10YearChallenge), the participating young ladies from Turkey have posted their current photographs, as well as the ones taken a decade ago, on the social media. As their decision to give up wearing hijabs is a recent one, majority of them are taking part in the #1YearChallenge. Nazan, incidentally, is one of them. She has shared a photo of herself paragliding without a hijab, along with an old headscarf-clad photo of her, with her son. She tweeted: “#1YearChallenge, there is no possible way to describe how beautiful it feels to live as you believe and as you want.

Many such messages have been re-tweeted on a page, titled ‘You Will Never Walk Alone’, which introduces women, like Nazan, to the world. The founder of the page wants women across the globe to join the protest-movement. Without revealing his/her name, the founder said: “My aim is to show the Turkish women that they are not alone and that they are in solidarity with those women in their difficult journey. Nobody at 13-14 years old age should be forced to wear something they’ll have to put on for the rest of their lives.
Another protester, Busranur, wrote: “Anybody can say anything they want. WE ARE LIBERATED and this has nothing to do with our family or our entourage. Our thoughts about ourselves and our thoughts about what we can do have been liberated.” She added: “We are purified from any kind of dogmas – the religion could ever impose on a woman. We did not play the role others have assigned for us. We have become ourselves #10YearChallenge.

For her part, Memnuniyetsiz Melek wrote on Twitter: “I do smile all the time, but life is not always bed of roses for me. As a graduate from Imam Hatip Religious High School, it was me fighting for the right of wearing a headscarf (in universities) but I also fought to take off it for eight years.” She further said: “For a long time, I had an inner struggle and for the five years, it has turned out to be struggle against my entourage and the whole society.

There are also some women who have decided not to join the protest. They see this issue differently. They believe that it is their choice to wear headscarves and the topic of freedom should not be discussed in such a way. “I can’t accept the fact that some enthusiastically praise those, who take off their headscarves, as enlightened human as if they own morality,” wrote Asik Bahrure.

The debate shall go on, and on, and on… and Turkey is getting set to define freedom in its own way…

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