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Cairo University bans lecturers from wearing niqab

Cairo University, one of Egypt’s oldest institutes of higher learning, has barred lecturers from wearing the niqab (full Islamic face-veil) in class.

Cairo University President Gaber Nasser said the decision was aimed at “improving communication” between lecturers and students.

The niqab, which covers a woman’s entire body from head to toe, is worn by women of ultraconservative Muslim backgrounds.

In Egypt, however, it is only worn by a small minority of women.

“It is forbidden for members of the teaching staff in all faculties — or their assistants — to deliver lectures while wearing the niqab,” the university said in its decision.

The ban, which went into effect on Tuesday, is expected to prompt a public outcry in Muslim-majority Egypt.

In 2008, Egypt saw heated public debate over the wearing of the niqab when Al-Azhar University, the country’s highest seat of religious learning, banned the outfit citing security concerns.

Egypt has been roiled by turmoil since the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi — the country’s first freely elected leader — after only one year in office.

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