Meet Layla, the beautiful green-eyed young woman shunned by society as she deliberates whether to take off her niqab.
In a new Syrian soap opera, a beautiful green-eyed young woman named Layla is torn over whether to take off the niqab, the billowing black Islamic garb that hides every part of her except her eyes.
But her rebelliousness has unintended consequences: She is shunned by society, her mother refuses to take her calls and her brother plots her death.
The 30-episode drama, aired on state TV during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, has sparked intense debate in this Arab nation of 22 million, which is ruled by a secular, authoritarian regime that has clamped down on Islamic extremism in the past…
The controversy illuminates a fundamental discord within Syria, which supports Islamic groups like Hamas and Hizbullah in their fight against Israel but maintains strict secularism at home. In July, the government banned students and teachers from wearing the niqab in order to protect Syria’s secular identity.
The show’s director, Syria’s most renowned film and TV soap opera director Najdat Anzour, defended the new series, which he said is based on a true story.
“The show presents the idea of religion as a double-edged weapon. If religion is not taken correctly, it could be easily exploited by certain groups to separate members of the same community and create hostility and sectarian violence,” Anzour told The Associated press.”