Demand an End to Tunisian Ban on Hijab
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
CAIR ACTION ALERT #503
DEMAND AN END TO TUNISIAN BAN ON HIJAB
Contact the Tunisian Embassy and U.S. Department of State Today
(WASHINGTON D.C., 10/18/06) - CAIR is urging all people of conscience to contact the government of Tunisia and the U.S. Department of State to demand that the religious rights of Tunisian women who choose to wear hijab be protected.
Media reports indicate that Tunisian police are stopping women on the streets and asking them to take off their headscarves and to sign a pledge that they will not wear a scarf again. A 1981 Tunisian law prohibits Islamic attire in schools or government offices.
SEE: Tunisia Moves Against Headscarves (BBC)
In a statement, CAIR said: "Freedom of religion should be a valued aspect of any society. People of all faiths must be granted the right to freely practice their religion without government interference or intimidation.
"The Tunisian law banning Islamic attire in certain areas, and the apparent expanded interpretation of that law, violates international human rights standards set forth by the United Nations and ratified by virtually every nation on earth.
"We call on the government of Tunisia to respect the religious rights of its citizens by ending all measures that restrict the wearing of religiously-mandated headscarves. We also call on the U.S. Department of State to use whatever influence it has to convince Tunisian authorities to abide by international norms of religious freedom.
"Tunisia cannot claim to be a free and open society while carrying out such repressive and authoritarian actions."
CAIR's statement noted that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a transnational treaty having the weight of international law states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. . .(and) to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
In the past, CAIR has defended the right to wear Islamic attire in France and Turkey. The council has also defended hijab and other religious rights in American schools and workplaces.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be firm, but POLITE.)
1. CONTACT the Embassy of Tunisia to express your concerns about this denial of religious freedom.
His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed N. Hachana
Embassy of Tunisia
1515 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005,
Tel: (202) 862-1850
Fax: (202) 862-1858
Sample Letter: Your Excellency - I am writing to register my objection to the Tunisian government's decision to impose undemocratic restrictions on religious freedom by prohibiting Muslim women from wearing religiously-mandated attire. Please pass these concerns to the proper authorities, along with a request that concrete steps be taken to uphold international norms of human and religious rights.
2. CONTACT the U.S. Department of State to request that American officials use whatever influence they have to protect religious freedom in Tunisia.
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard: 202-647-4000
3. SEND COPIES of all correspondence to CAIR at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
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Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726