Founders of anti-niqab initiative to be investigated
A woman in niqab rides a bike - Bike Zone Egypt Facebook page

CAIRO: Founders of an anti-niqab (face veil) initiative will be investigated for “threatening national security and societal peace,” according to an attorney-general decision Sunday.

Two lawyers filed the report to Attorney-General Nabil Sadeq, saying they violated the anti-discrimination and pro-personal freedom articles of the constitution.

The initiative “incites [discrimination] against a segment of the society” and “stirs strife amongst the people,” according to the report.

The report was filed against Mohamed Ateya, the coordinator of the initiative, Nabil Zaki, spokesperson of the social party of Tagammu, Hoda Badran, head of the General Federation of Egyptian Women, Samir Eleish, secretary-general of Constitutional Life Seminar and Nour al-Hoda Zaky, a leading politician at the Nasserite Party.

A campaign to reduce prices for niqabi customers was launched on social media in reaction to the initiative, which was launched April 5 to demand the ban of the full-face veil at schools, universities and government agencies.

The initiative, which promises to propose to their idea to the parliament, says that niqab “mars the Egyptian identity,” poses security threats and impedes social interaction. It also argues that niqab is not obliged by Islam, which is a contested issue among theologians, but mainstream Islamic scholars have said it is not obligatory.

Meanwhile, Equality for Development Studies Foundation said in an April 7 statement the campaign “flagrantly discriminates against women, incites violence against women and girls in Egypt, and violates United Nations conventions and agreements that support women’s rights.”

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