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Egypt court rejects private university niqab ban

[JURIST] Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court ruled Saturday against an American University of Cairo (AUC) [official website] ban on women wearing the Muslim niqab [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] on campus, finding that the private university could not require a plaintiff student to unveil her face because it was her constitutional right under Egyptian law to practice her religion. The court nonetheless said it would allow a mandatory identity check of veiled women by guards. AUC had enforced a complete ban by requiring students to check in their niqabs before being granted entry to the university for "security" reasons. AUC had allowed female students to wear the Muslim hijab [JURIST news archive], a headscarf leaving the face visible.

The petitioner, Iman Taha al-Zainy, a doctoral student, filed a legal challenge to the AUC's policy after being denied entry to the library in 2001 because she refused to remove her niqab. Al-Zainy won a lower court ruling, which the AUC appealed. BBC News has more. AFP has additional coverage.

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