Education minister ends niqab ban during exams

Female students wearing face veils will no longer be banned from sitting for their university exams, the higher education minister said Sunday.

Instead, students wearing the niqab will be allowed to take their exams after their identities are checked by a woman, Hussein Mostafa Moussa said. The minister said university presidents will be instructed to lift the ban on face-covered students.

During the parliamentary education committee meeting Sunday, Moussa said he discussed the issue with Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, coming to the conclusion that it’s irrational to punish a woman for being committed to Islamic Sharia.

The Supreme Council of Universities, according to the minister, will confirm during its next meeting that students wearing face veils can take exams.

The decision, he said, was made based on a ruling issued in 2009 by the administrative court, in which a judge repealed an Education Ministry decree that banned face-veiled students from entering the dormitories at Cairo’s Ain Shams University.

In 2011, the same court upheld a ban on wearing the niqab during exams.

The committee members also called on the minister to cancel a former decision that banned the face veil on university campuses.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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