Egyptian lawmakers draft bill to ban the niqab in public places

The Egyptian parliament is currently drafting a bill which will outlaw women from wearing the niqab in public places.

The ban will apply to wearing the clothing in public places and government institutions, it has been reported.

The niqab which is the full face veil is worn by many Egyptian Muslims.

MP Amna Nosseir, professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, who supports the ban, said that wearing the veil is not a requirement of Islam, and in fact has “non-Islamic origins”.

She claims that it is a Jewish tradition which appeared in the Arabian Peninsula prior to Islam, and that a variety of Quranic passages contradict its use.

However, the wearing of the niqab is widely considered as a legitimate Islamic opinion validated through scriptural references, though it is not a mainstream position.

A number of restrictions have been placed on wearing the niqab in Egypt in recent years.

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In February, Cairo University banned nurses and doctors from wearing it in medical schools and in teaching hospitals, arguing the ban would: “protect patients’ rights and interests.”

In September 2015, the university also banned academic staff from wearing the niqab in classrooms in response to complaints from students that it was too difficult for niqab wearers to communicate effectively with students.

Egypt has been undergoing a systematic process of muscular secularisation ever since General Abdel Fatah al Sisi came to power after deposing the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi in 2013 via a military coup.

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