Archaeologist: Islamic head scarves linked to sex rites

92-year-old avowed secularist Muazzes Ilmiye Cig to be tried for presenting her findings.

October 31, 2006 21:02
2 minute read.
Archaeologist: Islamic head scarves linked to sex rites

muslim women 298 88. (photo credit: AP [file])


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A 92-year-old retired archaeologist will stand trial in Turkey for claiming that Islamic-style head scarves date back more than 5,000 years - several millennia before the birth of Islam - and were worn by priestesses who initiated young men to sex. Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, an expert on the ancient Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia between the fourth and third millennia BCE, is the latest person to go on trial in Turkey for expressing opinions, despite intense European Union pressure on the country to expand such freedom as freedom of expression. Her trial is scheduled to start in Istanbul on Wednesday. She joins dozens of other writers, journalists and academics who have been prosecuted, including this year's Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and novelist Elif Shafak. Charges of insulting Turkishness against Pamuk were dropped over a technicality earlier this year, and Shafak was acquitted. The trial begins a week before a crucial European Union report on Turkey's progress toward membership, which is expected to chide Turkey for slipping in reforms and not acting to change laws that have been used to curb freedoms - in violation of EU human rights standards. The trial against Cig was initiated by an Islamic-oriented lawyer who was offended by claims made in her recently published political book, "My Reactions as a Citizen," in which she says that the earliest examples of head scarves date back to Sumerian times, when priestesses who helped young men learn sex veiled themselves. Unlike Pamuk and Shafak, who were tried under Turkey's notorious Article 301, which sets out punishment for insulting the Turkish Republic, its officials or "Turkishness," Cig is accused of "inciting religious hatred." She could face 1 1/2 years in prison if found guilty. An avowed secularist, Cig gained public attention when she wrote to Emine Erdogan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's wife, urging her to take off her head scarf and set an example to women in this predominantly Muslim and secular country, where more and more women are veiling themselves in a show of religious piety. Secularists like Cig view the head scarf as a symbol of political Islam and of female oppression. Turkey has strict secular laws and regulations. Head scarves are banned in schools and in public offices. Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey's Islamic movement, has made no secret of his desire to relax the laws on head scarves. Cautious of sensitivities of pro-secular circles, including the powerful military, however, he has said that he would bide his time on the issue. Pro-secularist groups were expected to turn out in force at the trial in a show of support to the archaeologist, who retired in 1972 and has written 13 books.

Related Content

A neo Nazi attends a rally in Budapest October 23, 2009
August 16, 2018
Neo-Nazi yelled at by his dad during interview