The Islamic full face veil, niqab, can be no longer worn by female teaching staff and workers at Ain Shams University in Cairo, including at its teaching hospital. University President Mahmoud al-Metiny has issued a decision to that effect, basing on a recent court ruling by Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court. Dr Metiny’s cited reports by managers of the university’s teaching hospitals and deans of faculties who claimed they frequently received complaints from students against having to deal with fully veiled female members of staff or workers at the university.
He stressed that the decision was made to ensure the rights of patients, and for the best interest of university work. Anyone breaching the decision would be liable to legal action.
The recent ruling by Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court, which upheld a ban on Cairo University’s academic staff wearing the face veil, during classes, was final and could not subject to appeal. The court rejected all appeals against the January 2016 ruling by an administrative court that upheld a decision by then Cairo University President Gaber Nassar to ban university staff from wearing the face veil.
The legal reasoning behind the 2016 ruling said that the freedom to choice of dress comes under the personal freedoms guaranteed by the constitution; however, that freedom is not absolute and should be practiced with respect to public mores. While the Universities Law does not include articles that require academic staff to wear specific dress, the court reasoned, Article 96 stipulates that they must adhere to university traditions which, according to the court, includes direct communication among staff, workers and students, a practice that cannot be achieved if members of academic staff wear the full face veil.
4 February 2020