CAIRO: The Alexandria Administrative Court revoked Sunday a ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf imposed on state TV presenters by the minister of information under the ousted regime.
The veil preserves a woman’s dignity and does not hinder her performance and professional duties, the court ruled in a case filed by Lamiaa Hussein El-Sayed, a presenter on terrestrial channel five.
It also ordered she be given LE 20,000 in compensation.
El-Sayed had won a case in 2010 allowing her to appear on television in her headscarf, but it was never implemented, as was the case with two other presenters, Hala El Malky and Ghada El Tawil, who have appeared on screen wearing the veil.
Last March, Samy Sherif, head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union at the time, approved that appearance of veiled TV presenters on terrestrial channels one and two as well as on the Egyptian satellite channel.
The first implementation of the new rule was on channel two program ‘Zeina’ which aired March 18, according to news reports.
The ruling comes in light of a sweeping victory for Islamists in the first two rounds of parliamentary elections.
However, analyst at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Abdel Aleem Mohamed, dismissed attempts to relate the recent court ruling to the triumph of Islamists at the polls.
“It’s about personal freedom and the right of a woman to wear whatever she wants,” he said. “This has been a highly controversial subject but public opinion all over the world and not just in Egypt agrees that this is a personal matter,” Mohamed added.
However, he feared that while the veiled television presenters would be allowed to perform their job, they may still be subjected to unequal, discriminatory treatment.
“We hope to find equal treatment between veiled and unveiled women in any workplace; a woman’s choice should be respected and supported,” he said.
A member of the Islamist Freedom and Justice Party and newly-elected Alexandria MP, lawyer Sobhi Saleh, applauded the court’s recent decision but said that it is key for the verdict to be implemented.
“This is not the first [ruling] of its kind; in the past five years there have been verdicts allowing veiled television presenters, but they have all been left to collect dust by corrupt officials,” he said.
“The law must prevail and be respected and it’s about time that court rulings are executed,” Saleh said.