Veil Phobia Spreads to Egypt

The face-veil (niqab) phobia spread to Egypt as veiled students have been banished from the residence hall at Helwan University unless they take off their veils.

Veil Phobia Spreads to Egypt

"They say nothing to indecent girls, but we -- the daughters of Islam -- are being hounded," 21-year-old veiled student Iman Ahmed told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Saturday, October 21.

The University dean, Abdel al-Hadi Ebaid, said the veiled students either take off their veil or quit the student digs.

"What I want is to protect students against those individuals who might worm their way in, disguised under a face veil," Ebaid says of the ban.

"Their parents would kill me if a man infiltrated the women's halls."

Angry demonstrations broke out against the ban, which was seen as a "battle against the veil".

"This ban restricts my freedom," said student Rihan Sami, 21, completely veiled and gloved.

"The veil is my choice, and that of Islam, in battling against the shamelessness that abounds here."

Raging Row

In order to gain access to the university campus, girls wearing the full veil must pass through a small office where a woman inspector checks them behind a curtain to verify their identities against a list of registered students.

"They only have to do the same thing for the halls of residence," argues Sami, adding that she decided to no longer wear the veil there in order to avoid being expelled.

The controversy in Egypt echoes recent comments against the veil by Jack Straw, the leader of Britain's House of Commons and a former foreign minister.

Straw angered British Muslims earlier this month by saying Muslim women should remove their veils when meeting him on official business.

Soad Saleh, a professor of Islamic law and former dean of the women's faculty of Islamic studies at Al-Azhar University, stoked the veil debate by saying that she felt disgusted when she spots a woman wearing the niqab.

After she questioned the wearing of the face veil during an appearance on the Dream satellite television channel, Saleh came under fire from veiled women and senior scholars.

Yussef Badri, a member of the Supreme Islamic Council, filed a lawsuit against her.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.

As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands.

Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to take on the veil.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16