Egypt weighs ban on Islamic face veil

Although home to a large religious Muslim population, Egypt’s government wants to outlaw the niqab outside the home.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A bill in Egypt’s parliament would ban the niqab, or Islamic face veil, from being worn outside, in public institutions and restaurants, an effort to prevent criminals from using the veil to hide their identities, Sputnik news agency reported Sunday.

The bill proposes a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately $55) for wearing the niqab in public will be. Repeated offenses would carry heavier fines.

Egyptian lawmaker Ghada Ajami, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of Egypt’s House of Representatives, told local media, “Security troubles in Egypt are accelerating these bold decisions in light of attempts to target state institutions, and increasing criminal and terrorist crime rates.”

“We are currently in an ongoing war against terrorism, we should do our best to end it. The veil or niqab is used by many people as a cover for the crimes that they are committing; it is not part of the personal freedom as some say,” she said.

The move to ban the veil may also be influenced by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to reduce the religious influence of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s not the first time Egypt tried to ban the niqab which only leaves the eyes uncovered. Parliamentarian Amna Nosseir attempted to gain support for a draft bill in 2016 by claiming the niqab was a Jewish tradition that predated Islam and that the Koran prohibits it..

In tandem with the 2016 push, Cairo University prohibited its academic staff from wearing it in class, and doctors and nurses from wearing it in medical schools and teaching hospitals.