Muazzez Ilmiye Cig

Nov 1st, 2006, in News, by

Indonesians may have the right to say “wer’e not as bad as Turkey”, if the case of Muazzez Ilmiye Cig is anything to go on.

While the blasphemy laws in Indonesia claim their fair share of victims, such as Yusman Roy and Lia Eden, 92 year old academics who make scholarly comments on the origins of the headscarf, or jilbab, are likely to be safe, assuming any such people exist in Indonesia. They are not so in Turkey.

The Australian reports: aust

An eminent 92-year-old Turkish archaeologist is to go on trial for inciting religious hatred because she angered Islamist circles with a scientific paper saying that the use of headscarves by women dated back to pre-Islamic sexual rites.

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig
Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, a danger to Turkish society.

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, who has made a lifelong study of ancient Sumerian civilisation, suggests in a book published last year that the headscarf may have been first used by Sumerian temple priestesses whose job it was to initiate young men into the world of sex, directly.

A lawyer in the city of Izmir took offence and filed a complaint against Cig, resulting in a prosecutor charging both her and her publisher with “inciting hatred based on religious differences”. It seems that the thing which offends most is the suggestion that the hijab, and the sexualising of head hair, pre-dates the time of Mohammed, is a pagan practice, and has little to do with Islam.

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig is well-known in Turkey as a strong defender of secularism and has on occasion even criticised Emine Erdogan, the wife of Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, for wearing the head-scarf in public.

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig goes on trial today and faces three years in prison if convicted. In Indonesia it would be five.

November 2nd

The courts viewed the prosecution dimly and both Cig and her publisher were acquitted after a one hour trial. cnn

48 Comments on “Muazzez Ilmiye Cig”

  1. Tomaculum says:

    I’m now very pessimistic, that you will get the half of her capacity to work with brain if you reach the 40.
    Let me try again: the problem is not what she have written, but it is a sign of dullness to try to discredit one’s work because of her/his age.
    Mrs. Cig is a reputed 92 years old scientist and is specialised in the sumerian anthropology. She translated many sumerian cuneiform scripture. On the basis of this translations she has positioned the contentious theory about the Islamic headscarf.
    As I understand, you have read her book. If then you will surely find passages to be discussed fairly. Based upon the fact, that this book is not yet translated in any other language, I suppose you are a turkey (wo-)man. So I don’t wonder about your reaction.
    But the way you argue is pitiable.

  2. Baris says:


    I have met with her during a Istanbul Book fair once, her brain cells are not dead, because she is using them for 92 years. But your braincells will be dead soon. (you don’t use them, that’s why.)

    Shame on you, she is very important Scientist and author and very industrious person produce for the sake of society.


    Doesn’t matter which, all religions are HARMFUL for societies because a sick mind , a schizophrenic psycho can be easily believe in these cinnie, angel Jesus, mosaa FXCHITS and they would be more dangerous for the rest of the society. That’s what we are watching for centuries. Psychopaths are rulling the world.

    Dear friends, I was living in Turkish republic too. Believe me there are many people they don’t want to live with these idiots anymore. But we have to obey. Muazzez Ilmiye is 92 years old but for the sick minded Muslims she is evil and she should be killed. Too many people were killed in my country because they’re telling the truths but there are still courageous people who will continue telling the truths so that the humanity would understand everything and live in a better world one day, without wars, without religions.

    Leyla SHAME ON YOU.

  3. Robert says:

    It is always surprising how an individual, in this case a 92-year old female scholar can cause so much unrest amongst the more conservative. This a classical example of a collision between a scientific view and a religious view concerning the origin of a delicate matter.
    If the lawyer has such a strong faith, he shouldn’t be offended by her views, because he should know that what has been written in the religious scriptures is the truth. Instead of that he reacts like he has been stung by a bee and thereby shows his intolerance towards other people’s opinions.
    For me, she is a very courageous women to bring up such a sensitive issue. I hope no one will harm her for expressing her views.

  4. Mohammed Khafi says:

    It seems that the thing which offends most is the suggestion that the hijab, and the sexualising of head hair, pre-dates the time of Mohammed, is a pagan practice, and has little to do with Islam.

    It actually has nothing to do with true Islam as it does not exist in Al Quran!

    The verse commonly quoted by Muslim cleric’s, so called scholars of Hadith, and supporters of Hijab 24:31, actually refers to covering of the breasts! The word used in this verse for the covering itself is Khimar, which literally means a cover, not a veil!

    The Arabic word for veil, hijab is used seven times in Al Quran five times as hijab and twice as hijaban, but is never in any of those instances used to refer to any dress code for women.

    Strange that some so called Muslim people are so sensitive to an issue which was never mentioned in Al Quran!

    Sad that the detractors of Islam do not know these facts either, they are fighting a phantom, what they are fighting is not true Islam as given By Allah in Al Quran.

  5. Robert says:


    I think a problem with religious writings such as Al Quran and The Bible is, that is these books can be interpreted in different ways. Because of that, there always will be (endless) discussions about the manner people should behave/dress (or not). The best example is of course the headscarf discussion (in Indonesia and in Europe). I doubt if there ever will be a kind of final answer to these kind of discussions.

  6. Mohammed Khafi says:

    Hi Robert,

    The problem in Islam is that the majority of those who call themselves Muslim, do not use Al Quran for guidance, they rely on Hadith and Sunnah. They are using manmade books instead of revealed scripture. In fact that is the problem with most religions, people are confused about what is God’s revelation and what is Mans fabrication.


  7. Czeslaw says:

    Hello Mohammed, and peace be with you!

    Very brave comments you mentioned about Al Quran and how clerics are misusing it to manipulate MUSLIMS.
    One day, you may become a targeted man, like Mrs. Cigs, so I hope you calculated this aspect of opposing imams and clerics manipulations of the Quran scripture.
    You are right, that the Al Quran is being manipulated, and what you told about the content and clerics and imams abuse of Al Quran is right on the target.

    Bravo, Mudammed you are brave person.

    Anyway, what is omitted in Islam teachings, is the history of Islam and its adaptations of various beduin Arabs believes. If you will take a closer look at some representations of “Allah” as the god, you will find that Arabs, like any other people around the world, have adopted some “supernatural” things as some symbolic diadems to represent something which they didn’t understood nor comprehended.

    Look at the symbols of some islamic countries, like Turkey or Syria, etc. The first one have a crescent moon with a star, which is nothing more than one of the representation of “allah” in ancient Arabic world. Arabs called and still are calling “allah” god many different things.

    Syria has adopted a pine cone as a symbol in their national recognition, which have to roots in old pre Ishtar goddess of the north Persian – south Kaukazian territories. Similarly to Syrian pine cone verison of allah, which represented the god of fertility, the native Indians in Southern America had own god of fertility represented in the corn cob.

    Try to put these things together and try to make up some common sense out of it.

    Also with the benefit of learning about us humans, is fact that the sacral prostitution was developed in the Arab countries centuries before the Mohammed times. This is another topic.

    But it was nice to hear from you about your point of view.

    Peace be with you!


    Hello Robert,
    well, there is a bigger problem created by so called “Islam Scholars” than just lashing Mrs Cig.

    First of all, she is not claiming anything contradictory to any religious matter.
    Second, she is not claiming any religious points of view in her scientific work.
    3rd bot not least, is that her “findings” are not secret to any one, about the pre islamic culture of the Arabic world.

    If any one will go over the human history in the Arabic world, and from the east of the Persia to the western Sahara regions, any one will find historical facts, about us human, having different symbolic representations of the god (allah) image-figure form the Isis and Osiris, to the Ishtar wit her son, reflecting Isis virgin birth of Osiris, etc., etc., etc..

    We will go over the islamic reflections of god allah, in the form of crescent moon which is symbolized everywhere from Pakistan to Turkey national emblems, representing “islam” symbolism, to a pine cone representing Arabic allah god of fertility, which is mirroring native Indians of Americas in the god of fertility represented in the corn cubs.

    You will find this god allah symblizim emblems in Syrian national sign, the pine cone representing the god of fertility – which come from the pre-Ishtar goddess times and the regions where her cults were spread in the eastern and southern parts of Persia and Kaukaz mountains.

    Hey imams and other islamic scholars, is the history a real problem for you? A history is nothing more than fact finding and reporting, and have noting to do with any religious dogmas nor political views.

  8. Robert says:

    Mohammed, Czeslaw,

    Thanks for sharing your views and insights. For me as a non-Muslim it is sometimes difficult to understand whether guidance origins from manmade scripture or revealed scripture. This may be a probable cause that so many people have so many different interpretations of what is true Islam or not. And therefore the endless discussions.
    The same story goes for Christianity where you have 1001 interpretations about what is true Christianity and what is not. No difference here.

  9. A 93-yar-old Turkish expert on Sumer, Muazzez Illmiye Cig, observed that head-scraves were not Islamic because they had been worn even by women in Sumer. She advised the wife of the Turkish president not to wear a head-scarf in public. The episode has created a storm.

    In these circumstances, as I have observed before, the worse the logic, the more interesting the situation. What is Ms. Cig reasoning from? It is not enough to say “the head-scarf was worn in pre-Islamic times, so it’s not Islamic”. The major premise must be: “Whatever is pre-Islamic is not Islamic”. Take circumcision, which was pre-Islamic. According to Ms. Cig’s logic, circumcision is not Islamic, and any Muslim parent can retain their son’s foreskin with perfect piety. I wonder if she herself has any sons who would fit that description. Or take ritual slaughter, which was pre-Islamic: according to the learned lady, all Muslims can chop off the heads of their chickens and roast them over a fire with a clear conscience. In fact, her reasoning would render Eid-ul-Azha passé.

    But surely she can extend the scope of her reasoning thus: “Whatever precedes the birth of a religion does not pertain to that religion”. Thus, baptism, a practice that preceded Christianity, is not really Christian. Or take the worship of Isis which preceded the adoration of Mary: the latter is rendered unChristian by the former. Ancestor-worship preceded Confuciansim, a bureaucratic state religion, which, by that reasoning, has no special claims on reverence of ancestors – one of its defining characteristics.

    Fortunately, there is a term for this fallacy: the It-Is-Merely fallacy. The head-scarf precedes Islam; ergo, it is merely pre-Islamic. Non sequitur.

  10. Czeslaw says:

    Hello Robert,
    Thanks on your comment and involvement in the discussion.
    The main reason to peace of any kind, is reasoning and just free open conversation between parties involved.

    It is not who is right, but what is right, that is important.

    Muhammad started this movement against legal system in Mekka, who/which ban him for his antagonistic attitude toward its citizens and the political system. He must have been put through some legal court system there and then, and was convicted of crimes against the current laws of Mekka, that the court order to ban him to return to Mekka.

    From here, the roads can lead many different ways. Also I have two questions here if I may:

    1. How much of Mohamed what we know is a legend? and
    2. How much of Mohammed we know is true?

    Compare Mohammed theme with the late el-Bab a prominent Muslim who was slaughtered (executed) on Ayatollahs and mullahs orders, by theTurks not that long ago.

    Peace to all of us here on this small blue dot of ours.

    Hello Iftekhar Sayeed!
    Good point of view, and very well stated.
    As far as Isis and lets add Osiris her son, to it, that is wonderful story of human development. As such, may be the story of Ishtar, which is much closer to the Arab center. Both were goddesses, and both thrived in that area many centuries before beduins and nomads got some ideology of some supreme god-like being.

    Ms Cig, and I do voice my respect to her for her scientific studies and the time she spent on the issues. She is just a scholar, and I do not see any reasons why Muslim are raising dust about her work. Does Allah need some Muslim support?

    Islam is a collective of many beduin and nomadic beliefs all put together into one pot. Most religions are same way, one way or another.

    However, Islam is the only religion movement which started with violence and it is still in internal havoc and bloodshed.

    Take a look at Christianity. The Master Jesus walked and was teaching peace and respect of others. If you look at Buddha, you will find wonderful philosophical principals which worked during his times, and are as valid today, as they were then. Look at Dalai Lama! Do not forget great Mahatma Gandhi. There are many, many others, which the names we will never know, but we have some inner peace because of them.

    It is poor approach by Muslims, and I do not mean to be negative toward their religion, not at all, that they create the hole in the whole thing just to get some attention, or the things will have to turn their way, or it will end up like in Iraq today.

    The problem came in, after Saddam’s downfall. Suni goes on Shi’ia, Shi’ia turn on Shi’ia, Suni turns on Sunis. No one knows why, but want to be on safe side with Allah, so the killings have to continue, in case, no one noticed how important Islam is.

    Iftekhar Sayeed, it was good to hear from you! Thank you and peace be to you, your family and your country!

  11. Mohammed Khafi says:

    Iftekhar Sayeed said:

    A 93-yar-old Turkish expert on Sumer, Muazzez Illmiye Cig, observed that head-scraves were not Islamic because they had been worn even by women in Sumer. She advised the wife of the Turkish president not to wear a head-scarf in public. The episode has created a storm.

    First I don’t see in the article any suggestion that she finds head scarves un-Islamic because they predate Islam, she has only stated that they do and that they were possibly used in pagan rituals.

    As far as I am aware she has never stated that as a reason for rejecting headscarves. Quite likely the reason that she rejects headscarves as Un Islamic is because nowhere in Al Quran is there a demand for women to wear them!


  12. Click link below for more on Muazzez İlmiye Çığ: “Ž

    Parts of the Muslim world reacted to western domination by focussing on superficial “Žthings like skirts and headscarves: other areas made more intelligent decisions. “Ž

    And as for the 92-year-old child of the Kamalist revolution, Muazzez Ä°lmiye Çığ of “ŽTurkey, we have to observe that, while she may have a firm grasp on Sumerian sexual “Žrituals, she needs to bone up on contemporary economic history.


  13. iamisaid says:

    This headscarf thingy for Muslim women is taken way out of context by Muslims.

    Islam has it that women cover their hair during prayer. Period.
    What do we know next? The headscarf has become a money spinning business and women are adorning their heads with sequinned headscarfs.

    Obviously for all intents and purpose, the women inhabitants of the vast desert land were forced by desert sand storms to literally cover their entire bodies from head to toe except for a small aperture at their eyes or they might be bumping into men with disastrous results.
    Guess what? We have Ninja Muslim women in various parts of the world where there is absolutely no sand storm.

  14. Czeslaw says:

    The whole issue is all about the control of the women populous, if it is anything at all.

    It seems like the muslim male, created a tool to control, induce a power of the fear of god, to dominate the female to harem them for their own sexual games.

    It is nothing new, or exclusive to muslim males to use whatever tool they can create and use, to attract for a sexual purpose a female, and to hold control over the females.

    This is just a strange, old and primitive foreplay before the actual sexual act.

    Maybe I am wrong, and again, maybe I am not.

    If the woman fall for it, that is all up to her. But if she is forced, brutalize, and abused, then that shows, that the (muslim) system failed in this respect. In Arab countries, to the beduins and other Arab tribes a donkey and camel always had more value than a woman or a child. Due to the fact, that donkey and camel could carry a load, and women were to weak to do so.

    This goes to the totemic times of the religious evolutions in the Arab peninsula, and some North African regions. That is why, you will see in the muslim countries the symbols of crescent moon symbolizing the “god” or in Arabic “allah”, for it was the light source in the night for traveling beduins and nomads, as a sun was the light source in the daytime travels. Arabs, nomads and beduins called “allah” all things which could be translated in today’s terms as a supernatural phenomena such as existence of sun, stars, some other supernatural things. So, nomads, beduins and Arabs used “allah” name rather freely and not particularly to any single event or deity.

    People who used Mr. Mohammed person to own gains, took it one step further, to follow the old Persian Zoroastrism religious believes in one-single God, Ahura Mazda. Single God believes predate islamic times by couple of thousands of years. So, MUSLIMS are misled by own religious leaders by telling MUSLIMS that “allah” is the only single god there is and was, etc..

    But these things keep people busy. Sunnis are blowing them selves up, to get few Shi’ia and vs. It all turned to a chaos, hate, racism, and all that stuff associated with the mix of political communism and nazism.

    In case to be on safe side, I better cut your head off before.


  15. Ali Abakan says:

    I don’t want to speak much about the topic, to me it is sth like foolish compensation trials in US for reasons like ‘In the instructions they don’t say that i can’t dry my cat in the oven.’ But instead of US courts decisions Turkish court rejected the trial.

    But some commentors ranted about Muhammed (SAV). First Muhammed is not an Arab Leader born without a known father and his mother is not a holy sexual toy.
    He was known as Al-Amin before his duty of holy message according to his trustfulness. Also nearly all Rabbani religions consider he is a descendant of Abraham from his second wife, Hagar. Please be respectful to holy creatures. Of course God knows everything and he is the most merciful.

  16. Mohammed Khafi says:

    Well done, you continue the stereotype of the unthinking Mainstream Muslim. You make derogatory comments about Nabi Isa, and Maryam and then tell everybody to be respectful to holy creatures.

    What a wonderful implementation of the teachings of Al Quran and of the respected example of The Prophet.

  17. Czeslaw says:

    Hello Ali!
    Peace be to you and all who cherish other peoples believes and faiths
    We are not here to beat up and destroy your leader Mr Muhammad (Al-Amin). That would put us in this same bag with muslims who are kidnaping and beheading non muslims.
    But where is the mercifulness of your Allah when muslims are kidnaping and beheading non muslims?
    Where is “Allah” mercifulness when the muslims attacked and ambushed teenage Indonesian Christian girls and beheaded two(?) of them.

    Where were you to defend your Allah’s and Mr Mohammed’s mercifulness toward these Indonesian school girls?

    Still, peace and love of God Almighty be with you and your family.

  18. longlong says:

    Muazzez Ilmiye Cig is a danger to Turkish society?? Who is the author of this article to decide who is a threat to the Turkish society and who is not?

    She is a true symbol of Turkish women and we are all proud of her. She is a bright example of a Turkish scholar. And although it’s nobody else’s concern, let me also add that she herself states at every chance that she is a believer. She knows how to evaluate faith and science within their own terms.

    To the author: Now take your narrow mind and hatred with you and leave this planet.

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