Egyptian parliamentarian wants to ban the niqab

by omouggos

Egyptian MP Amna Nosseir (image from en.wataninet.com)

Egyptian member of parliament Amna Nosseir has drafted a proposed law that will ban women in Egypt from wearing the niqab in government institutions and public places.[1] At first glance it seems odd that such a law is being proposed in a country that is 90% Muslim, after all if such action was proposed in a Western country, cries of Islamophobia would surely follow.

However, Nosseir is no Islamophobe, she is in fact a professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, a centuries old institution that is probably the most prestigious Sunni Islamic university in the umma. Her justification for such a ban is that the niqab is not mandated by Sharia law and because it is a Jewish tradition.

Nosseir cites passages from the Koran, that in her opinion do not make sense if women are forced to wear a niqab, which is a full body covering with the eyes exposed through slits. She also argues that Arabs adopted the niqab from neighboring Jewish tribes (it seems like no matter what the problem most Arabs will somehow find a way to blame the Jews for it).

It is also interesting to note that Egyptian women have reported being “turned away” from resorts in their country because they were wearing hijabs, a veil that covers the head, but not the face.[2] A women experiencing such “discrimination” said “it feels degrading, we are in our own country and we are not happy.

All I can say about this topic is that it appears that the attire of Muslim women is not only an issue of debate and controversy in Western countries but also in Islamic countries.

O Mouggos

References

[1] http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/parliament-draft-law-banning-niqab-government-institutions-public-places

[2] http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/07/27/Hijab-wearing-women-say-are-being-turned-away-at-Egyptian-resorts.html

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