Woman in Niqab - REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Woman in Niqab - REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Bill against niqab sparks controversy among Egyptians

Wed, Nov. 7, 2018
CAIRO – 7 November 2018: Parliament member, Ghada Ajami, submitted a bill banning women to wear the niqab (face veils) in public places.

The bill imposes a fine of LE 1,000 on women who wear the niqab or ‘face veil’ in public places like restaurants, parks or universities. The fine fee will increase with repeated offense. The bill was officially handed to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

Ajami argued that the face veil had become a source of sedition in the Egyptian society. "It aims to change the moderate character of Islam in Egypt and reflects the extremist ideology of Salafi (ultraconservative) movements, not to mention that it has split society into those with niqab and those without," Ajami told local press.

“France has also had the same ban since 2010 after determining that it is necessary from a security standpoint for protecting society from divisions,” she stated, pointing out that women “can wear the niqab inside their homes, but citizens must reveal their faces in public places and official institutions.”

On the other hand, a wide number of parliamentarians rejected the draft law, saying that the ban violates public freedoms, and that it may lead to further divisions and strife in the Egyptian society.

Posts on the submitted bill went viral on social media with many people rejecting it completely, and claiming that this bill is against public freedom, while others said that it may help to decrease crime rates, arguing that some women wear niqab to carry out terrorist acts, kidnap children or assassinate public figures.

Hanan, 25 years old, refused the bill completely, saying that this is an arbitrary bill that should not be applied at any country. Sultan Mohamed has the same opinion, telling Egypt Today that “I’m totally against any law that restricts the freedom of people.”

Noha, a journalist, told Egypt Today she is partly with this bill, as she thinks niqabi women should not be allowed in educational institutions, but to ban niqab in public places in general is not easy. “In general, this law is inapplicable.”

Various European nations banned the niqab, including Denmark, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, some areas of Spain; all citing similar security concerns.

More recently, Algeria banned women from wearing niqab in workplaces.
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