All women working at Cairo University’s hospitals have been banned form wearing the niqab (full face-veil), announced Doctor Gaber Nassar, the President of Cairo University.
According to Aswat Masriya, the decision, which came into effect on 14 February 2016, applies to teaching staff, doctors, students, nurses, and any technical workers who are either working at the hospitals or training there.
The decision to ban the niqab comes a month after Egypt’s Administrative Court rejected lawsuits filed against Cairo University for banning teachers from wearing the niqab, reported Aswat Masriya.
At the time of the ban, which was contested by 77 staff members, Nassar stated that the decision was made to improve education and communication between students and their instructors and to benefit the wider public.
This is not the first time a university has tackled the issue of the niqab.
In 2008, debate ensued after Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, the leading Sunni Islamic school in the world, banned the niqab in all-female classrooms and dormitories. Meanwhile, in 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist dominated parliament criticized certain hospitals and nursing schools for banning nurses from wearing the niqab.
In 2015, voters were required to remove the niqab in order to cast their ballots. Voters wearing the niqab were required to reveal their faces to a female poll worker to verify their identities.
The niqab, which is not as commonly worn in Egypt as the hijab, consists of fabric that covers a woman’s head and a cloth that covers her face but leaves the eyes visible.