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Turkish opposition appeals constitutional amendments lifting headscarf ban

[JURIST] Turkey's main pro-secular opposition party appealed to the nation's Constitutional Court [official website, in Turkish] Wednesday to overturn recently approved amendments to the country's constitution [text] easing a ban on Islamic headscarves [JURIST report] in universities. The Republican People's Party [party website, in Turkish] says the ban is necessary to protect the separation of religion and state. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey [official website] earlier this month passed [JURIST report] the amendments by a final vote of 403-107, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul [official profile] approved [JURIST report] the constitutional amendments on Friday. BBC News has more.

Despite the reforms, at least 10 Turkish universities have continued [JURIST report] to enforce a ban on headscarves. Headscarves and other forms of Muslim traditional religious dress [JURIST news archive] have long been banned from many public places in modern Turkey, a majority Muslim country despite official secularism. The new law alters the constitution and Higher Education Law No. 2547 [HRW backgrounder] to allow scarves tied at the chin. Chadors, veils and burqas reportedly are still banned.

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