- Egypt’s university has banned the use of surgical masks in examinations halls after female students resorted to masks to replace niqab, a full face veil banned by government last October.
Officials at Cairo University said that replacing the niqab with facemasks violates a recent ruling by the Administrative Court, which upheld a ban on the full veil in examination halls.
Earlier this month, Egyptian female students vowed to appeal a total ban of niqab veil, imposed by the government last October.
The statement follows a Cairo based court ruling on 3 January to back government’s decision to ban female students wearing the niqab in university examinations. The ban follows a number of complaints that individuals were sitting exams disguised as other candidates.
The controversy over the niqab in this predominantly Muslim country erupted last October when Mohammad Tantawi, the Grand Shaikh of Al Azhar, the leading Sunni seat of learning, banned the niqab in female-only classes and dormitories.
The top cleric said that the costume is not an Islamic duty. A few days later, Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal followed suit, citing security reasons.
However, the activities said the ban on niqab is the infringement on the women’s religious rights, further stating that the ban forces women in tertiary institutions to expose part of their bodies which they do not want to expose.
Most Muslim women in Egypt cover their hair, but the full face veil is associated with the ultra-conservative Salafi school of thought, which is based mostly in Saudi Arabia, and is gaining popularity in the country.
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