Egypt's veil wearers see it as barrier to harassment

CAIRO, Jan 30, (AFP) - Female students at Cairo University are defying religious and state efforts to ban the controversial niqab from schools and colleges, saying that wearing the controversial face veil is a religious obligation that also protects against sexual harassment.

“I wear the niqab essentially to avoid harassment on the street and on public transport,” said law student Marwa Mohammed, 19, her eyes visible only through the slits in the black veil that covers her entire face. But if conditions changed and she was not subjected to harassment would she take it off?

She would not, because “the veil gives me respect, and people look at me differently.” She implied that sexual harassment would exist as long as young men looking for work and housing remained frustrated in their efforts.

“What will change? The cost of living? Unemployment? Or the excessively high cost of housing?” Marwa asked, her kohl-stained eyes giving away a hidden smile.

“As long as young people don't have the means to get married, harassment will continue,” she added.

The hijab, the Islamic head scarf that covers the hair and neck, is worn by most Muslim women in conservative Egypt, and religious authorities say that wearing it is an obligation of the faith.

France moves towards banning full Islamic veil

PARIS, Jan 29, (AFP) -French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Friday asked France's top court to help the government draft legislation banning the full Islamic veil, his office said.

Fillon wrote to the State Council asking it to “study the legal solutions enabling us to reach a ban on wearing the full veil, which I want to be as wide and effective as possible.”The government's move comes three days after a French parliament report called for a ban on the full veil, saying Muslim women who fully cover their heads and faces pose an “unacceptable” challenge to French values.

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Egypt's veil wearers see it as barrier to harassment


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