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Governmental enforcement and bans

A map showing the prevalence of the Hijab[citation needed]

Some governments encourage and even oblige women to wear the hijab, while others have banned it in at least some public settings.

Some Muslims believe hijab covering for women should be compulsory as part of sharia, i.e. Muslim law. Wearing of the hijab was enforced by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and is enforced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Emirate required women to cover not only their head but their face as well, because “the face of a woman is a source of corruption” for men not related to them.[24] While some women wholeheartedly embrace the rules, others protest by observing the rules in an inconsistent fashion, or flouting them whenever possible. Sudan’s criminal code allows the flogging or fining of anyone who “violates public morality or wears indecent clothing”, albeit without defining “indecent clothing.”

Turkey, Tunisia, and Tajikistan are Muslim-majority countries where the law prohibits the wearing of hijab in government buildings, schools, and universities. In Tunisia, women were banned from wearing hijab in state offices in 1981 and in the 1980s and 1990s more restrictions were put in place.[25] In 2008 the Turkish government attempted to lift a ban on Muslim headscarves at universities, but were overturned by the country’s Constitutional Court.[26] Though in December 2010, the Turkish government ended the headscarf ban in universities.[27]

On March 15, 2004, France passed a law banning “symbols or clothes through which students conspicuously display their religious affiliation” in public primary schools, middle schools, and secondary schools. In the Belgian city of Maaseik, Niqāb has been banned.[28] (2006)

On July 13, 2010, France’s lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public. There were 335 votes for the bill and one against in the 557-seat National Assembly.

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Non-governmental

Non-governmental enforcement of hijab is found in many parts of the Muslim world.

Successful informal coercion of women by sectors of society to wear hijab has been reported in Gaza where Mujama’ al-Islami, the predecessor of Hamas, reportedly used “a mixture of consent and coercion” to “‘restore’ hijab” on urban educated women in Gaza in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Similar behavior was displayed by Hamas itself during the first intifada in Palestine. Though a relatively small movement at this time, Hamas exploited the political vacuum left by perceived failures in strategy by the Palestinian factions to call for a ‘return’ to Islam as a path to success, a campaign that focused on the role of women.[30] Hamas campaigned for the wearing of the hijab alongside other measures, including insisting women stay at home, segregation from men and the promotion of polygamy. In the course of this campaign women who chose not to wear the hijab were verbally and physically harassed, with the result that the hijab was being worn ‘just to avoid problems on the streets’.

According to journalist Jane Kramer, in France, veiling among school girls became increasingly common following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, due to coercion by “fathers and uncles and brothers and even their male classmates” of the school girls. “Girls who did not conform were excoriated, or chased, or beaten by fanatical young men meting out Islamic justice.”[32] According to the American magazine The Weekly Standard, a survey conducted in France in May 2003 reportedly “found that 77% of girls wearing the hijab said they did so because of physical threats from Islamist groups.”

In Srinagar, India in 2001 an “acid attack on four young Muslim women … by an unknown militant outfit [was followed by] swift compliance by women of all ages on the issue of wearing the chadar (head-dress) in public.”

In Basra, Iraq, “more than 100 women who didn’t adhere to strict Islamic dress code” were killed between the summer of 2007 and spring of 2008 by Islamist militias (primarily the Mahdi Army) who controlled the police there, according to the CBS news program 60 Minutes.

Islamists in other countries have been accused of attacking or threatening to attack the faces of women in an effort to intimidate them from wearing of makeup or allegedly immodest dress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijab