Cairo University has issued a decision banning female members of its teaching staff from wearing the Islamic full face cover (niqab) while lecturing students, arguing that the move is for the good of the educational process.
“(Female) members of the teaching staff and assistants at the university’s colleges and institutes are not to be allowed to give theoretical or practical lectures, or to attend labs, while wearing the niqab to ensure good communication with students,” read the statement issued by university president Gaber Nassar, a copy of which was obtained by Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Several student and teacher groups said the decision could have a negative impact and doubted its applicability.
Mohamed Kamal, a professor at Beni Suef University, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the measure is “at odds with many constitutional provisions”, saying it involves “racism against a particular dress code that does not conflict with the law or social traditions”.
Niqabs and hijabs (headscarves) have been at the center of various debates by advocates of personal freedoms and Islamist activists over the past several years.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm