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Saturday, September 23, 2023 

Egypt bans hijabs and niqabs from schools

In a significant step similar to what France took when it comes to those outfits, Egypt's government is also barring Muslim coverings for women like the niqab from their schools:
The Egyptian government has made a decision to restrict the wearing of the niqab (full-face veil) by girls in schools during the new academic year, which begins on September 30 this year.

Reda Hegazy, Egypt’s Minister of Education, publicly announced the decision and described the new guidelines. Hair covers are permissible, according to Minister Hegazy, but they must not obscure the student’s face. Furthermore, unless approved by the Directorate of Education, no models or illustrations promoting the hair cover are permitted, he said.

Minister Hegazy also emphasized the responsibility of the guardian in the student’s decision. “It is crucial that the guardian is aware of and consents to their daughter’s decision to wear a hair cover, and this choice should be entirely voluntary, free from any external pressure or coercion,” the Minister said.

[...] Apart from Egypt, several countries like Austria, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Uzbekistan have imposed bans on the wearing of headscarves at schools and colleges.

Recently, in the year 2022, the Karnataka High Court in India also pronounced its verdict on wearing hijab in schools. The court upheld the ban and ruled that wearing of hijab is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith.
This is certainly significant, and at least half a step towards putting a stop to some of the most oppressive outfits ever designed for women. Hugh Fitzgerald notes:
Should a girl want to wear a hair covering, even though it will continue to be allowed, the Minister of Education wants to make sure she has not been pressured to do so by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, hoping to have hair coverings warn in such a way that they become full-fledged hijabs. This new rule should be interpreted as part of the war that the El-Sisi regime is waging against the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s another weapon to be used against members of the MB who, will, of course, continue to insist that their own womenfolk wear — if not the niqab — at the very least the hijab. And now their children can be expelled from school as a result. The Ministry is determined to turn back the clock in Egypt, to the 1950s when secularism was at its height, niqabs were never seen, and hijabs, too, were worn much less frequently on the streets of Cairo than they are today. [...]

There is, in fact, no Qur’an verse that mandates the wearing of the hijab. Qur’an 24:31 merely says this: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only what is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment except to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack desire, or children who know nothing of women’s nakedness. And do not let them stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn to Allah together, O believers, so that you may succeed.”

So a Muslim woman must modestly “lower her gaze,” and “be modest,” or as another translation has it, “guard her private parts” (which no woman, Muslim or Infidel, should need to be told), and not to “reveal their adornment.” This is not generally understood as requiring the concealment of the entire face, or even requiring that all but the reduced oval of her face which is all you see when the hijab is worn correctly be covered. And that uncovered face is what the Egyptian law insists be fully shown, without a scarf covering.
There is a valid complaint to be made here that what is implied in the Koran is that a woman's breasts are abominations, and such blather is simply unacceptable. Such beliefs and commands are unacceptable in any religion, and the Egyptian government in the meantime is doing the right thing to forbid its use in schools. They must also severely punish any parents who abuse girls into wearing such awful garments as hijabs and niqabs.

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