The issue of whether a Muslim girl should be allowed to wear the niqab(face veil) arises when Muslim confront secular procedures in Western nations, but a new controversy over this issue has arisen in Egypt. The nation’s leading cleric, Mohammed Tantawi said that wearing of the niqab has nothing to do with the Muslim religion and he will not allow it or the chador to be worn by girls who attend schools run by Al-Azhar University. About two dozen Muslim females wearing the niqab protested at state-run Cairo University which does not allow it to be worn in classes. They told reporters denying them the right to wear their niqab was a blow to their freedom of speech and dress.
In the Middle East, the niqab is associated with Salafism, an ultra conservative school of thought that is practiced mainly in Saudi Arabia. Salafis oppose Al Azhar’s religious teachings. It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out in the Middle East and other Muslim nations.