Posted by: becketfund | April 20, 2009

Egypt: Government Bans Employees from Wearing Niqab

CAIRO – Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments has launched a campaign against wearing the full face veil known as a niqab in government jobs claiming it is not an obligation for Muslims, Al Arabiya News reported on April 20.

The latest crackdown on the niqab follows a prohibition against nurses wearing the full face veil in hospitals.

In the first in a series of seminars aimed at eradicating the niqab from public posts held under the auspices of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, Dr. Salem Abdel-Gelil – Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments for Preaching explained to the ministry’s face-veiled female employees that niqab is not an obligation in Islam and that the headscarf is enough. The majority of questions addressed at the seminar were related to the wave of fatwas, or religious rulings, issued by several preachers about the necessity of wearing the face veil. MP Farid Ismael criticized the ministry’s new law, which would affect an estimated 9,630 niqabi nurses, about 10 percent of all Egyptian nurses. He called the law unconstitutional and said it aimed to distract public opinion away from more pressing issues nurses face such as insufficient salaries and benefits.

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