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New campaign against face veil sparks controversy in Egypt

Mohamed Attiya, the founder of the "Ban the niqab" campaign, speaks to Al-Monitor about why he supports banning niqabs in state institutions despite the criticism the campaign has received.
An Egyptian woman wearing nijab walks in Cairo July 19, 2012. In an age of new freedoms in the post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt, niqab-wearing women long oppressed socially and politically are hoping for a new place in society. Though Egypt is a deeply conservative and predominantly Muslim society, niqab wearers have cited discrimination in the job market, education and elsewhere. A new TV channel being managed and run exclusively by women who wear the full veil, to be launched this weekend on the first day of the

CAIRO — A new campaign titled “Ban the niqab” was launched in Egypt earlier this month, calling for a ban on the full face veil in all state institutions, including universities, public hospitals, schools and government departments.

The campaign was strongly criticized by some Islamic clerics, who believe that wearing the niqab is a virtuous act by women and banning it is not permissible. Meanwhile, others argued that the campaign was not directed at Islam, saying that the niqab is merely a tradition unrelated to religion that should be removed.

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