London UK, 4th Jan 2010 – On Sunday 3rd January, the Egyptian Administrative Court, upheld the government’s decision to ban students from wearing the face veil while taking examinations at all government-run universities across the country.
The ban was initially ordered last October by the Minister of Higher Education, Hani Hilal, who argued that it would prevent cheating in exams due to students sitting exams disguised as others by wearing the niqab. He also ordered that niqab-wearing female lecturers should not be allowed into classes and that face veils should not be permitted in university hostels, attributing a ban to security reasons. Muslim women who wear the niqab, now face the prospect of having to sacrifice their education and career aspirations if they wish to hold on to their Islamic convictions.
The Egyptian regime and establishment, has repeatedly demonstrated that it cares very little for the rights or dignity of Muslim women. Its track-record, as documented by various human rights organisations, includes numerous arrests, torture, and rape of women related to Islamic activists by its security services.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, Women’s Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain commented, “This decision by the Egyptian Administrative Court is simply the latest chapter of Mubarak’s fight against the rising tide of Egyptian Muslims embracing Islam as a spiritual, social, and political ideology. The concoction of flimsy excuses such as security or cheating to justify outlawing face veils does little to deflect attention from the real cause of such bans – the Egyptian regime’s contempt for Islam. Niqab bans reflect the dying throes of an autocratic and failing government trying desperately to hold onto power against an unstoppable wave of opposition to secular dictatorship and support for Islamic rule within the country.”
“While Egyptian women grapple with rising levels of sexual molestation, an economy in meltdown, increasing poverty, and an illiteracy rate of over 50% of the country’s female population, the Egyptian government pathetically chooses to focus on face veils as a political priority. Unable to deal with the real issues blighting the country and in line with its familiar apathetic approach to the needs of its people, it seems intent on placing yet another obstacle in the path of its women seeking a good education, increasing their misery. It is not Islam that is the bane of the lives of women in the Muslim world as claimed by many in the West but autocratic regimes funded and supported by Western governments, that have adopted as their mission to be the vanguards of oppression and injustice meted out against their citizens. Egypt is simply the latest in a line of Muslim countries, including Turkey and Tunisia that have placed restrictions on women adorning their Islamic dress in public life.”
“Judicial decisions that uphold bans that strip Muslim women of their basic religious rights, only serve to convince them further that terms such as ‘freedom’ or ‘gender equality’ enshrined in their constitutions are inept in securing their basic rights of citizenship. It is therefore not surprising that so many Muslim women are turning in support of the Islamic Caliphate, understanding that it alone can protect their dignity, secure their Islamic obligations, and guarantee their rights. It is a state where women will be provided full access to education, where there is zero tolerance to the exploitation or abuse of women, and where the Muslim woman can wear her Islamic dress with pride, honour and under the full protection of the law.”