Aga Luczakowska / Female Islambul

Posted December 10, 2011

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Aga Luczakowska
lives in Bucharest, Romania.

Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents (Europe and Asia) and it is influenced by all contradictions of globalized and traditional societies.

More than 80 years ago, Kemal Ataturk pushed through the most radical program of secularization ever attempted in any Muslim society. Since Ataturk’s reforms and the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923 women have had an equal status with men in Turkish society. He strongly believed that secular nationalism was an essential feature of modernity and progress.

But even though the veil was outlawed, society cannot change so quickly. There has been a periodic controversy over how women should dress and whether they should wear headscarves. Muslim women argue that wearing a headscarf is a human right and a religious duty, but secularists consider the headscarf as a provocative political symbol.

When I visited Istanbul the first time in 2006, I assumed, as most Europeans do, that all Turks pray five times a day, want to introduce sharia and deny women equal rights. In fact, young Turkish women are much different than I had previously thought and Islam is more varied than I expected. In my project I want to discover the religious life of young women in Istanbul – a cosmopolitan city that at the same time has a strong cultural and religious history.

Female Islambul* (from words Islam and Istanbul)