CAIRO: Egyptian journalist Sherif Choubachy has called for women who wear the Muslim veil join in a protest in Tahrir Square to remove their hijabs in the first week of May.
Salafist groups and Islamic bodies have urged Al-Azhar and the government to prevent the protest. Under the 2013 protest law, all political demonstrations must first have approval from security forces.
In comments on his Facebook page, Choubachy said that he wants to hold an event like that of Hoda Shaarawi in 1923, in which she publicly removed her veil in Alexandria.
Choubachy added that since 1923, the popular wearing of hijab disappeared for about 50 years and it only reappeared after the defeat of 1967 against Israel; he blamed rhetoric at the time for linking the loss with people straying from Islam and its teachings.
Said Mahmoud, the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram newspaper, wrote on his Facebook page that when women took off their veils in the 1919 Revolution, it was a symbolic to get their rights of independence, freedom of choice, higher education and political participation, adding “When it comes to these priorities, freedom of choice will be respected either with a veil or even without clothes.”
Researcher Said al-Qimni has also supported Choubachy’s call and posted on his Facebook page an article about the stories of hijab in Islamic history, and he dedicated it to what he called “Choubachy’s campaign of tearing Hijab.”
Choubachy said that hijab is against freedom and that “political Islam” is the reason of its outbreak.
Abbas Shouman, the deputy to Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, condemned Choubachy’s statements and described it as an “assault” to a woman’s freedom and dignity, and likened the call to asking Muslims not to pray.