While Obama has endorsed the wearing of oppressive Muslim veils, Egypt seriously considers banning them

Barack Hussein Obama’s desire to make the U.S. more accepting of Islam, and make Muslims around the world more accepting of the U.S., is too reliant on advisors with an extremist viewpoint.

Obama endorsed he right of women everywhere to wear the hijab, a scarf-like covering for the “hair”, required in Taliban country for keeping a woman’s head attached to the neck.

So says a Yemeni feminist who is disturbed by the President’s ardent defense of women who wear the hijab. According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Elham Mane’a takes issue with Obama’s appointment of Dalia Mogahed to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Mane’a, who writes for the liberal www.metransparent.com website, argues Mogahed does not offer a representative viewpoint.

Obama’s reference to the hijab in his June 5 Cairo speech proved Mogahed’s negative influence, Mane’a writes. In the speech, Obama boasted that the U.S. has litigated cases “to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.” But the wearing of the hijab outside of a Muslim country, Mane’a writes, is a sign of inculcation and coercion, rather than free expression.

“I understood then that Obama had heard [only] one opinion on this matter, which purports to exclusively reflect ‘what Muslim men and women think’ and ‘what Muslim men and women want.’ In actuality, this view represents [only Dalia Mogahed’s] perception of Islam, which is an extremist Islamic perception… Investigative Project

Muslim scholars have questioned plans by the head of Egypt’s most famous university to ban female students from veiling their faces on its premises and affiliated educational establishments.

Al-Azhar Universitys Shaikh Muhammad Tantawi

Al-Azhar University's Shaikh Muhammad Tantawi

Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Sheik of al-Azhar University in Cairo, the most important center of learning in the Sunni Islam world, has announced plans to ban women wearing the niqab, or face veil, from entering any of the university’s schools.

News of the Grand Sheikh’s plans emerged after a visit he made to a middle school last week. The Associated Press says it was reported by the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that the visit was to inspect measures in place to stop the spread of swine flu, when he told a girl in one of the classes at the school to remove her niqab.

Following his berating of the girl for wearing a garment that he said “has nothing to do with Islam and is only a custom” and after telling her that he knew more about religion than her parents the Grand Sheikh then announced that a ban would soon come in to effect banning girls who are wearing the niqab from entering al-Azhar property.

The property affected by the ban includes middle schools, high schools and dormitories at several universities in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Speaking anonymously to the Associated Press, a security official has confirmed that verbal orders to enforce such a ban have already been issued.

Whilst most Egyptian women wear the headscarf there is concern in the country regarding the increasing number who have taken to wearing the niqab, with many scholars arguing the garment is a remnant of tribal, nomadic, desert-dwelling societies that predate Islam.

Scholars at al-Azhar are said to support Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi and his proposal to ban the niqab, one being quoted as saying, “Taliban forces women to wear the niqab… The phenomena is spreading.” Digital Journal

Apparently, Obama should confer with someone other than Islamic terrorists on this issue.

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