Veil Burning in Kazakhstan

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In 1951 the Yugoslav Communist Party launched an aggressive veil lifting campaign that targeted Muslim women. New legislation outlawed wearing the veil and introduced severe punishment for those who by any means pressured women to wear the veil. At the same time, the Party’s activists across the country monitored if the law was enforced. The activists entered houses, demolished high fence walls around them, and pressured people to appear in public unveiled. The campaign followed a series of interventions into Muslim communities, including mandatory elementary education for girls, a ban on underage marriage, and the replacement of Sharia law with the universal Yugoslav law on marriage. All of these policies were based on Soviet models, despite the Yugoslav conflict with the Soviet Union in 1948. Similar processes occurred in socialist Bulgaria a decade later. The Bulgarian state initiated several campaigns to direct and control the garment choices of Muslim women. After numerous assimilation attempts, the communist government forcefully extradited hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the late 1980s.

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