VEIL DEBATE: EGYPTIAN COURT RULES THAT NIQAB CANNOT BE BANNED 

 

Cairo, 10 Nov. (AKI) -

An administrative court in Egypt has ruled that wearing the niqab - the eyes-only veil at the centre of heated debate in recent days - "is part of human rights" and "no one can forbid a woman from wearing it.

" Judge Abdel Qadeer Qandil, deputy president of the Council of State has signed a binding ruling, that wearing a niqab is a woman's right and noone can therefore ban her from entering a certain area". The issue ended up before the administrative court after various conflicting sentences from civil courts.

 

"Behind the choice of a woman to wear the full veil there are personal and ideological principles that cannot be violated according to the law" the ruling said. "The civil law code does not ban the niqab nor does Sharia Islamic Law disapprove of it.

The constitution, which protects all citizens, does not force anyone to dress in a certain way, nor deprive of their rights those who are opposed to the niqab or the hijab (Islamic headscarf)."

 According to the judge, allowing women to wear the eyes-only veil does not prevent them from being identified. Qandil suggests that women attendants at the entrance to buildings and university campuses could control the face of the munaqaba (hijab-wearing women).  The request for clarification was made by the American University in Cairo, whose library is off-limits to women wearing the face-veil. The niqab has been at the centre of debate and conflict in the capital Cairo, after Helwan University refused to allow students wearing the niqab entry to women-only dormitories on security grounds.  The dispute was revived the statements of Soad Saleh, a female lecturer in Islamic law and former head of the Womens Studies faculty at the prestigious al-Azhar theological university in Cairo.  During a television appearance Saleh said she felt "disgust" towards women who wear the niqab. The remark triggered the wrath of fundamentalists groups who have sworn vengeance. Saleh has also received death threats.   

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