CAIRO: Students at Cairo University filed a lawsuit against the university administration for banning students wearing the niqab from taking their exams, unless they remove the face cover inside the examination hall.
The Muslim Lawyers Association, Islamist lawyer Nabih El-Wahsh and lawyer Ali Mohamed Ali filed the lawsuit and are currently arranging a meeting with the university president next Sunday.
This week has seen protests by hundreds of students at Cairo University against the administration’s recent decision. Earlier this week, three students wearing the niqab claimed the university president ignored their pleas to sit for their exams, even though they volunteered to reveal their faces to a female staff member before entering the examination hall.
However, the Minister of Higher Education Hani Helal said in an official statement that while women wearing the niqab are not banned from entering campuses, they are not allowed in the dorms nor are they allowed to take exams while wearing the niqab.
The minister cited several violations by students who he says “abuse the niqab.
However, Mariam, a student at Cairo University dispelled the minister’s claims. “Since when do we ask people to change their attire because of others’ abuse of it? Does this mean that the police should stop wearing their uniform?
Protestors said they want to eradicate the “ignorant ideas in the university, claiming that the university’s president wants to ban niqab on campus to prevent a widespread ideology that has no basis in Sharia.
Other protestors, who don’t wear the niqab, also expressed their frustration at the lack of democracy in a so-called democratic country. “Why wouldn’t the university’s administration let them in? Aren’t we supposed to be living in a democratic country, where we have freedom of speech? asked one of the protestors.
Other students proposed conducting a survey to determine the general perception of the niqab ban.
Controversy has been looming over the niqab ever since Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayed Tantawy decided to ban the full face veil (niqab) in all-girls classrooms at Al-Azhar schools and universities.