Sunday, September 16, 2007

Turkish first lady: Ready for her hijab close up - Hollywood style!

Mrs. Gul seeks "reconciliatory hijab".

The wife of Turkish presidential hopeful Abdullah Gul has commissioned an international fashion designer, who left his touches on the wardrobes of Hollywood superstars and wives of European politicians, to come up with a new style for her hijab to satisfy both conservatives and liberals.

"Hayrunnisa Gul has asked me to redesign her headscarf along with her whole wardrobe in a style that suits everyone, from the most modern to the most conservative," Vienna-based Turkish designer
Atil Kutoglu told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"I am to submit next week a range of around 10 samples combining Hollywood glamour with the seriousness which matches her position," added Kutoglu, who had been ranked 238 in the annual "1000 Most Important Persons in Austria" list.

Clients of Kutoglu include Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, supermodel Naomi Campbell along with Austria's royal family and wives of a host of European politicians.

Outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, an arch-secularist, currently forbids the Muslim headscarf on the premises of the palace. Hijab is further banned in all state institutions, including schools and universities, in the strictly secular Turkey.

Mrs Gul, who could be the first hijab-wearing wife of a president in Turkey's modern history, came under the spotlight in 1998 after she joined hundreds of hijab-wearing women in suing the state before the European Court of Human Rights for denying them their right to put on the headgear.

The court, however, upheld the state ban.

Turkish secularists tend to see the headscarf as a threat to the modernizing reforms of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who threw religion out of public life as he rebuilt Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire
. They say any relaxation of the ban could quickly turn Turkey into another Iran. Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Just say no to Islamonuts joining the EU...

Oh, and in other creeping Sharia news: First Muslim to Fast Ramadan in Space.