Hayrettin Karaman, one of the most prominent voices of Islamic conservatism in Turkey, probably did not expect to ignite a nationwide controversy with an article on women smoking in public. But his recent piece in the pro-Islamic and pro-government daily Yeni Safak, headlined “Smoking with headscarf,” sparked a conflagration.
Reiterating views that Muslims should not smoke, the Islamic scholar asserted Aug. 3 that cigarettes were much worse for women than men, as smoking sends signals about their morals. Karaman wrote, “When I see a woman who wears a headscarf but also smokes in public, I get the impression that she's saying: ‘Don’t mind the fact that I am covering my head. Don’t give up on me, I have a lot more to share with you.'”