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Queen Soraya Tarzi
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    (November 24, 1899-April 20, 1968)
    Born in Damascus, Syria
    Queen Consort of Afghanistan (1919-29)
    Married to King Amanullah I (1919-60)
    One of her sisters married one of the king's brothers, producing an oddly-shaped family tree.
    As part of an effort to destabilize Afghanistan, the British distributed in rural areas of the country photos of her dining with foreign men while not wearing a veil.
    Her social reforms, coupled with her husband's political reforms, triggered a revolt by conservatives that forced the King to abdicate and go into exile.
    Her reforms were undone by later Afghan regimes.
    She was the first Muslim consort to appear at public functions with her husband.
    At the conclusion of a speech in which the King declared, 'Islam did not require women to cover their bodies or wear any special kind of veil,' she tore off her veil in public.
    She founded the first magazine for women in Afghanistan.
    She founded the first school for girls in Kabul (1921).
    She was named Minister of Education (1926).

Credit: C. Fishel

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