Egypt court rejects lawsuits against Cairo University decision to ban face veil among faculty

Tuesday 19-01-2016 09:59 PM

CAIRO, Jan. 19 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt’s Administrative Court rejected Tuesday lawsuits filed against Cairo University President’s decision banning fully-veiled women from becoming teaching staff members.

About 100 women wearing the face veil (niqab) filed lawsuits against the decision.

Cairo University President Gaber Nassar welcomed the court’s rejection of the lawsuits and told Aswat Masriya “we still have another phase before the Supreme Administrative Court”. He expressed his hope to win it. 

Nassar added that all his decisions are in the public interest and will also benefit the university and the educational process.

The lawsuits filed stated that the decision violates the constitution, with article (14) stipulating that "Public offices are a competence-based right for all citizens without bias or favouritism, and are deemed a mandate to serve the people." The article ensured the rights and protection of public servants by the state and that "they may not be dismissed without disciplinary procedures except in the cases specified by Law."

Article (53) of the constitution also stipulates that “All citizens are equal before the Law. They are equal in rights, freedoms and general duties, without discrimination based on religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political or geographic affiliation or any other reason. Discrimination and incitement of hatred is a crime punished by Law.”

Preventing fully-veiled women dates back to 2001 when the American University in Cairo (AUC) decided against the entry of veiled women in labs and university libraries. Researcher Iman Taha al-Zeni was accordingly banned from entering the university’s library and filed a lawsuit against the university.

The Administrative Court cancelled the university’s decision; however the AUC didn’t implement it at the time.

In June 2007, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled against the AUC’s decision and accordingly the AUC carried out the ruling in July of the same year. 

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