Lifestyle & Belief

Egypt: First veiled woman broadcasts the news


A woman wears a full face Niqab on the streets of Blackburn July 20, 2010 in Blackburn, England. Syria has banned the wearing of full face veils in it's universities. The controversial Islamic niqab and the full face burqa has also seen calls across Europe for the garment to be banned. Many Islamic groups have called the ban discrimination against Muslims.


Christopher Furlong

Fatma Nabil, wearing a cream colored headscarf over a dark suit, became the first Egyptian woman to read the news on state television wearing a veil today.

Though a majority of Egyptian women cover their hair, and veiled women are common on Egypt's satellite and cable channels, under ousted President Hosni Mubarak (and the Presidents before him), the hijab was kept off state-run stations.

Nabil, who had worked on the Muslim Brother station Misr 25, started at Channel 1 over the weekend, the AFP reported. Her appearance today prompted a intense debate in Egypt over whether the move was indicative of current President Mohammad Morsi's mission to move toward a more Islamist Egypt. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to the New York Times, at least three other veiled women will soon be appearing on state television, including a weather presenter, Egypt's information Minister Salah Abdel-Maqsoud said

However, people are still skeptical of the change. The Associated Press reported that "critics perceive the appearance of veiled women not as a breakthrough in personal freedom but a cosmetic change: State employees they say will still take their cues from the ruling elite, but from an Islamic one rather than a secular one."

Discussion: Do you believe this marks the end of a secular Egypt?