CAIRO: Cairo University has banned its academic staff from wearing niqab (face veils that cover all but one’s eyes) inside classrooms, Youm7 reported Tuesday.
“It is not permissible for female members of the teaching staff and their assistants in all university colleges and institutes to give theoretical or practical lectures or attend laboratory or practical training while wearing the niqab,” according to a Tuesday decision issued by Cairo University Chairperson Gaber Gad.
The decision, which was put into effect Tuesday, came “in order to facilitate communicating with students and to provide appropriate educational process.”
Most Muslim women in Egypt choose to wear veils over their hair in public, but military and police institutions forbid wearing the niqab from entering, citing security concerns.
The ban, which is the first of its kind among Egyptian universities, is expected to stir controversy among academic staff in Cairo University and other universities across the country. The ban was issued a few days after the start of the academic year.
Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, severe clashes erupted between security forces and pro-Muslim Brotherhood students-of Cairo University in particular- demanding Morsi’s reinstatement.
Students had organized demonstrations in several university campuses including Cairo and Al-Azhar universities calling for the release of their colleagues who were arrested over violating the controversial Protest Law.