Banishment Of Religion Essay

2508 words - 10 pages

There is no doubt that life in the Middle East is a far cry from life as we know it in the Unites States. Having freedom of religious expression is a luxury many are not afforded in these areas; however, it is a freedom we often times do not give a second thought. Religion plays a significant role in all societies and all aspects of present-day life. Furthermore, religion gives many a reason to live, and a better understanding of the unknown. On the other hand religion has long been a controversial issue causing widespread global unrest. The ideology of religion is to promote peace, happiness, and unity; however, more times than not, it produces hatred and anomie. Sociologist Emile Durkheim introduced this concept to explain social instability resulting from the erosion of standards and values, as well as, alienation and purposelessness experienced by a person or group. (Schaefer, 2013) The differences between the eastern and western ideologies continue to be a talking point in our current events; however, to comprehend the lifestyle and culture in the Middle East remains a mystery to many not living in that region; by applying the sociological perspectives to religion sociologists are able to better grasp the complex issues that surround it. “In some instances religious loyalties become dysfunctional; that is they contribute to tension and even conflict between groups and nations” (Schaefer, 2013). Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish novelist, brings major issues many are dealing with in areas of Turkey and Europe to the forefront in his novel Snow, especially those at the intersection of religious expression and needs for secular authority in the modern world.
Women in some Islamic societies veil themselves, as well as, seclude themselves in an act commonly known as hijab; however, hijab is also referred to as the actual veil worn by women. In addition, the head scarf and burka are other forms of the veil that are worn by Muslim women. Although these outer garments appear to be different, they achieve the same goal, which is to maintain a standard of modesty and show commitment to the Muslim religion. The controversy surrounding these outer garments has not only caused conflict within the individuals who practice the Muslim religion but also conflict where the secular state is concerned. Pamuk used the head scarf in his book as a symbolic reference to Turkey’s attempt to control religious expression in the early 20th century. Pamuk presented the “head scarf girls” in the novel as women who were in a constant tug of war with the secular state about being able to wear their head scarf at school and in the classroom. “How can you explain why the state is banning so many girls from the classroom in the name of secularism, when all they are doing is obeying the laws of their religion” (Pamuk ,2004). The use of the head scarf in Pamuk’s novel mimics the turmoil that has plagued Turkey for generations.
The ban on the head scarf dates back to the early 1920’s...

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