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Egypt's Al-Azhar to open classes for female students in branch campus

The announcement by the Assiut campus of Al-Azhar University to create all-female classes inspired both accolades and complaints from lawmakers and religious scholars.

Usama Abdul Raouf, vice president of Al-Azhar University's Assiut branch, announced the opening of special classes for female students at the all-male faculties of pharmacy and medicine in early 2018. The March 27 decision was made to spare female students the long commutes to other branches of Al-Azhar University.

The decision sparked controversy. Some thought that Al-Azhar was giving up its Sharia values that forbid the mixing of men and women, while others saw the decision as a victory for the civilized world and an opportunity for cultural and social development in Upper Egypt and change in Egyptian society’s perception of women.

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