Sophomore Nadiah Song, a Singaporean exchange student, was first asked by her parents to wear a hijab when she was 14.

“Singapore has a secular system of schools, so I would wear a hijab out of school when I was with friends,” Song said. “After I graduated, it became full-time.”

Although Song was warned by family and friends about possible prejudice in the U.S., she said she has never felt discriminated against.

Muslims on American college campuses have worn headscarves for years, but Turkish Muslim women were only recently allowed to don headscarves in universities across the country.

UNC geography professor Banu Gokariksel, who is from Turkey, will be presenting a lecture about the issue at noon today in Toy Lounge in Dey Hall.

A ban on wearing headscarves on Turkish college campuses was lifted Feb. 9 when Parliament passed two constitutional amendments to allow them as religious expressions. The ban, part of an attempt to secularize the country, was instituted in 1983 after a military takeover.

The repeal follows the 2007 electoral victory of an Islamic political party, the Justice and Development Party, and is just one of many changes as Turkey works to modernize and gain membership in the European Union. (MORE)


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