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.