From niqab to surgical masks

The niqab controversy in Egypt (see here and here) has taken a new twist, with some female students wearing surgical masks as a substitute for the banned face veil.

Al-Masry al-Youm says Cairo university "prohibits girls from wearing the masks as well [as niqab] because it sees it as an attempt to outwit the rules".

Discussing the issue in an article for Comment Is Free, Nesrine Malik points out that "it's not only in secular Europe where societies are trying to grapple with the highly emotive question of Islamic dress" and says: "It's never really about what women wear, but about the values that women's dress implies."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 12 January 2010.