Tunisia Moves Against Headscarves

October 20, 2006

Author: Heba Saleh

Source: BBC News


The Tunisian authorities have launched a campaign against the Islamic veil worn by some women to cover their hair.

Police are applying with renewed vigour a decree dating back to 1981 which prohibits women from wearing Islamic headscarves in public places.

In recent days, senior officials have hit out at what they describe as sectarian dress worn by people who use religion to hide political aims. Human rights groups describe the move as unconstitutional.

Police in Tunisia have been stopping women on the streets and asking them to remove their headscarves and sign pledges that they will not go back to wearing them. Under a ban introduced in 1981, women in Tunisia are not allowed to wear Islamic dress in schools or government offices. Those who insist on it face losing their jobs.

One woman said she was barred from entering her son's school wearing a headscarf.