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ERIC Number: EJ770977
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun-22
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Egyptian Court Overrules American University in Cairo's Limits on Religious Garb
Krieger, Zvika
Chronicle of Higher Education, v53 n42 pA42 Jun 2007
An Egyptian court ruled this month that the American University in Cairo could not bar a woman who wears the traditional niqab headdress from entering its library--the latest episode in the struggle between religion and secularism on Egypt's university campuses. The American University has outlawed the niqab--which covers the entire head except for a narrow slit for the eyes--"as an issue of personal safety and security," its officials said in a written statement. The ruling followed a series of incidents in which Egypt's traditionally secular universities have clashed with a rising religious tide across the country. Officials of the American University, commonly called AUC, admitted that their niqab policy exceeded security concerns and related to the essence of their educational philosophy. "Due to the style of education offered by AUC, as a liberal-arts college, it requires dialogue and intellectual interaction with colleagues and other members of the university community," the university's statement said. "All members of the AUC community have a basic right to know with whom they are dealing, whether in class, the library, labs, or anywhere else on campus." Many professors led the fight against the niqab as a pedagogical issue. "I would have trouble as a teacher not seeing a student's facial expression," said Mona Abaza, a sociologist at the university, "so I think that saying that we should not allow niqab is the right decision." Ms. Abaza said the court's decision was yet another infringement by religious forces on the university's educational mission. "This is an attack on academic freedom," she said. "This is where the whole issue of cultural sensitivity is misused."
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: circulation@chronicle.com; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Egypt (Cairo)