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Egypt moves to ban the burqa and other Islamic head coverings in public places

The full-face niqab is worn by many members of the Islamic faith and it is a common form of veil used in many of Muslim nations. The veil covers all of the wearer’s face other than their eyes.

Image: Anne Bloom (Flickr)

The Egyptian parliament is devising a new law that would ban the wearing of the niqab veil in public places and government centers, according to the Independent.

The full-face niqab is worn by many members of the Islamic faith and it is a common form of veil used in many Muslim nations. The veil covers all of the wearer’s face other than their eyes.

Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, MP Amna Nosseir, said the veil is not a “requirement” of Islam, however she argues that it was first a Jewish tradition before appearing in the Arabian Peninsula prior to their arrival.

“How did Islam impose the niqab if Muslims are asked in the Quran to lower their gaze?” asked Nosair.

According to the Egypt Independent, among those responding negatively to Nosseir’s campaign is Fouad Abdel-Moneim, a professor of religion and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, arguing that Sharia scholars all agree that Islam urges women to “guard their modesty.”

“Communities are destroyed wherever immorailty spreads,” Abdel-Moneim said.

In an interview with Egyptian media, he said that the Jewish and Muslim faiths both require the Niqab for women, adding that to ban them would be a blow for personal freedoms in Egypt.

Restrictions were placed on the niqab from being worn in public in recent years. Even Cairo University banned health professionals from wearing it in medical schools and in teaching hospitals, arguing that the ban would “protect patients’ rights and interests.”

The Independent said that the university also banned academic staff from wearing the veil in classrooms in response to complaints from students that it was too difficult for niqab wearers to communicate effectively with students.

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