Source Adnki 

Cairo, 17 Nov. (AKI) - The parliamentary bloc of the Muslim Brotherhood has issued a statement calling on the prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, to force the resignation of the culture minister, Farouk Hosni, for his comments that the traditional Muslim veil for women "is a symbol of backwardness".

In a long communique, posted on its internet site, the Brotherhood - which is legally banned but tolerated - calls on Hosni to be replaced, in the name of respect for the Constitution, the Sharia (Islamic Law) and the Egyptian people.   

The document, signed by Mahdi Hasan, the spokesman of the Brotherhood parliamentary bloc - 88 in the 444-member house - cites passages from the interview given by the minister to independent daily Al Masri Al Yom, in which he said "the use of the veil by Egyptian women is a sign of backwardness and a backward step".  


"The fact that the mother of the minister did not wear the veil on her way to work or the university, as he recalls in the interview, does not create a legal precedent and in fact contravenes the principles of our religion which invites women to wear it, as any man of faith will confirm" the statement said. 

"The declarations of Farouk Hosni show a personal viewpoint but do not fit with hsi role as minister of culture in our country" it added.  

The statement is addressed also to the main religious authorities of the country, such as Sheikh Tantawi, rector of the Al-Azhar university, the main theological centre of Sunni Islam, and the Grand Mufti of Egypt, so that they speak out on the minister's declarations.  

In the interview published on Thursday Farouk Hosni said that "women with their beautiful hair are like flowers and should not be covered up" and that "religion today is linked only to appearances, while every woman's veil should be inside her, not outside."  

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