Niqab negates a woman`s personality: Egypt PM

Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 09:19

Cairo: Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has waded into Egypt`s "niqab" controversy, saying the full-face veil wipes out a woman`s personality, the official news agency MENA reported on Wednesday.
The niqab, advocated by ultra-conservative Muslims, "cancels the personality of a woman," he said.

The Prime Minister said the niqab was a matter of personal freedom but that it should not trespass on other people`s rights, warning that some students used it to cheat in exams.

However, universities should respect an administrative court`s decision overturning bans on the niqab, he said.

The court last month ruled against a ban on the niqab in female schools affiliated with the Islamic Al-Azhar University.

It also ruled against an Education Ministry ban on the niqab in university residences and examination halls, saying it violated the women`s constitutional liberties.

The government and Al-Azhar have shown signs of concern over the niqab, which is associated in Egypt with the ultra-conservative Salafi school of thought practiced mostly
in Saudi Arabia.

Most Muslim women in Egypt cover their hair.

The niqab is thought to be gaining ground in the Arab world`s largest country, partly as a result of the growing influence of satellite television stations which air Salafi preaching.


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First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 09:19

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