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Islamic writer's comments on smoking leave Turkish women fuming

Islamic scholar and columnist Hayrettin Karaman has angered Turkish women by questioning the chastity of those who smoke while wearing the veil.
Turkish women smoke cigarettes outside a teahouse in Istanbul on July 19, 2009. On July 19, cigarettes have been totally banned in bars, restaurants and other recreational places in Turkey. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC        (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/GettyImages)

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.'”

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