Students try to outwit universities to protest niqab ban

The ongoing controversy over banning the niqab at some universities has reached new heights as niqab-wearers at Cairo University and Fayoum University sat for exams wearing surgical masks in an attempt to circumvent the ban on covering their faces.

At Cairo University, Vice President for Teaching and Student Affairs Adel Zayed toured examination rooms of different faculties on Sunday to see if the girls were wearing surgical masks. Zayed ordered the girls wearing the masks remove them in order to continue their exams. In advance of the exam, posters around the university had warned students against wearing the niqab or surgical masks during exams.

Meanwhile, eight girls who refused to sit for exams with their faces uncovered at the Faculty of Dar el-Uloom, filed reports against the university at the Boulaq el-Dakrour police station.

Mohamed Saleh, dean of the Faculty of Dar el-Uloom, said the university had decided to apply the decision banning the niqab literally. He pointed out that the university prohibits girls from wearing the masks as well because it sees it as an attempt to outwit the rules, particularly as nobody else wears the masks on campus.

Ragaa Ahmed, dean of the Faculty of Education, decided to refer 14 students for investigation after they refused to take off the niqab during Ahmed’s tour of examination rooms. During her tour, the dean took away question and answer sheets from 35 girls wearing the niqab.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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