Following Cairo University’s President Gasser Nassar’s decision to ban women wearing niqab from teaching, 77 female faculty members prepared to file a lawsuit against the university’s administration.

According to Egyptian Streets, Ahmed Mahran, Head of the Cairo Centre for Political and Legal Studies, was asked to file a lawsuit against Nassar following his decision to ban women wearing niqab from teaching. He added that there were women involved in the lawsuit who weren’t veiled, yet were participating ‘in solidarity’ with those affected.

The procedure to file the case started on Saturday, added Mahran to Aswat Masrya. No new information concerning the case has been officially released since then.

According to Al-Araby news, Nassar justified his ban for the niqab as more effective to ‘communication within the classroom.’ Nassar believes that the niqab hinders communication between faculty members and students, and considers it especially problematic in language courses – he attributes low grades to the niqab.

‘We’re not banning the niqab, we’re just regulating it,’ Nassar said to the Associated Press on Friday when asked about the ban.

He further argued that his ban is based on Law 49 of 1972 and Decree 809 of 1975 – which gives him the right to execute regulatory by-laws, adding that he shared his proposal with deans of the university’s facilities for approval. In addition, he said that he had the support of the Grand Mufti, according to Al-Araby. 

This seems to be a case of history repeating itself – this isn’t the first time that a Cairo University president has imposed a ban on the niqab and been sued for it.

According to Ahram Online, Hossam Kamel, former President of Cairo University, was sentenced to three months imprisonment in absentia, an EGP 200,000 fine, and was ordered to step down from his position in 2010. The sentence was put into effect after Kamel banned faculty members from wearing the niqab, got sued, and refused to apply the Administrative Court’s decision to allow women wearing a niqab to teach at the university. 

Information gathered from: Egyptian Streets, Al-Araby, Aswat Masrya, and University World News.

Featured photo credits: Islamization Watch Blog.