Citing security threats, Egyptian Parliament close to banning niqab

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In this June 14, 2014 file photo, an Egyptian woman walks past a vehicle carrying anti-riot police officers deployed to secure a protest against sexual harassment in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
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Niqab-clad women line up to vote during a 2014 election. (AFP
Updated 09 April 2017
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Citing security threats, Egyptian Parliament close to banning niqab

CAIRO: A number of Egyptian lawmakers announced on Friday that they would soon refer to the parliament a draft-law that prevents women from wearing the niqab in state institutions, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
The lawmakers asserted that “such a law was necessary for security reasons and as a preventive measure to confront terrorism and extremism.”
The Board of State Commissioners recommended the Supreme Administrative Court to issue a final decision in support of banning academic staff from wearing the niqab in all of Cairo’s state universities.
The number of women wearing the full niqab veil in Egypt has increased dramatically in the past years particularly with the rise of the political Islam movements.
Cairo University has in the past two years been placing a number of restrictions on wearing the niqab, banning women wearing the full-face veil inside its affiliated hospitals.
Earlier, an official decision was issued to ban the niqab inside classrooms, a move supported by the Supreme Administrative Court.
In 2009, Egypt’s Al-Azhar University banned the niqab during exams. The decision is not applicable anymore.
Observers expect that lawmakers from the political Islam movements and the Nour party would strongly object the draft-law.
However, parliamentary sources said: “The full-face veil represents a threat to state security and personal freedom. Women wearing the niqab are capable to hide their faces and make it impossible for anti-terrorism state institutions to uncover their identities.”
The sources added: “Several crimes and terrorist bombings were committed by men wearing this outfit. Those were capable to hide behind the niqab to escape security measures.”
The sources said Islam does not demand that women wear a niqab. “Covering the face is a not a Muslim tradition.”
The niqab, commonly worn in Egypt, consists of covering a woman’s head and her face, but only leaves the eyes visible.


Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, Libya

Updated 22 April 2019
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Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, Libya

  • The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir
  • The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will lead two emergency summits with other African leaders on Tuesday to address events in Sudan and Libya, his presidency said.
The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir.
They will also seek to “stem the current crisis” in Libya, where commander Khalifa Haftar is leading an offensive on Tripoli, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.
El-Sisi is also the current president of the African Union.
He will receive the Chadian president Idriss Deby, Rwanda’s head of state Paul Kagame, Congo’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as well as Dijbouti’s leader Ismail Omar Guelleh.
The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya.
For Sudan, the objective “is to discuss ... the most appropriate ways to address the evolution of the situation and to contribute to stability and peace,” Egypt’s presidency said.
The AU on April 15 threatened to suspend Sudan if the military does not hand over power within 15 days of that date to a civilian authority.
President of the African Union commission Moussa Faki is also expected to participate in the discussions, along with officials from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.
Another summit on Libya, which will bring together the leaders of Rwanda, South Africa and the Congo with El-Sisi, will focus on “relaunching a political process... (and) the elimination of terrorism,” Egypt’s presidency said.
Strongman Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, on April 4.
Egypt is a strong ally of Haftar, who is also backed by the UAE and — according to the White House — was consulted by US President Donald Trump in a phone call last week.