On October 23, 2022, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in northeastern Syria, which controls parts of the Hasakah, Deir Al-Zour, Al-Raqqah and Aleppo governorates, issued a memo to all the education committees in the areas under its control specifying a dress code and other guidelines for the local schools. In addition to banning cellphones in the classroom and mandating school uniforms, the memo bans wearing the niqab (a veil that covers the entire face, except for the eyes) on campus.
The decision sparked angry responses from Arabs in the areas under the Autonomous Administration’s control, especially in the Deir Al-Zour governorate, most of whose residents are conservative Arabs. Demonstrations were held in various parts of the governorate for several days, at which the protesters, including niqab-wearing women, demanded to revoke the ban because it “contravenes the principles of Islam.”
Furious Responses On Social Media: This Is An Act Of Open Hostility Towards Muslim Teachers
Opposition to the decision was also expressed on social media. For example, Facebook user Samer Jabbouri, from the Hasakah area, wrote: “The Kurds of the Qandil [Mountains] banned the niqab in schools today. This is the first step, and if it is implemented the next step will be to extend the ban to other professions [in addition to teachers], and the third step will be to ban it altogether in northeastern Syria. This gang wants to extinguish the light of Allah in the public sphere…”