Yesterday, members of the Al Azhar Islamic Research Academy upheld the decision to ban the niqab (veil covering the face) from al-Azhar affiliated institutions. Led by Al Azhar Sheikh Sayid Tantawi, the group supported the decision previously issued by the Supreme Council of al-Azhar, which bans female students from wearing the niqab inside al-Azhar institutes, examination halls and dormitories.
The council’s decision conforms to the provisions of Islamic law, said the academy members, noting that the niqab is not a religious obligation, and that women should still “cover all of the body except the face and hands.”
Meanwhile, the sheikh of Al Azhar issued instructions to security officials at al-Azhar to not allow any Al-Masry Al-Youm correspondents to enter the grounds or to cover any activities or meetings held by the Islamic Research Academy.
The official in charge of security told the correspondent for Al-Masry Al-Youm, “You will never be allowed in, under the instructions of the imam [Sayid Tantawi]. This is because you exclusively published a news item called ‘Sheikh of Al Azhar forcing students to take of their niqabs at Al Azhar institutes.’ We would have avoided all of that if you had not published this news, and the sheikh would not have been exposed to these severe attacks by the various media,” the security official said.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.