Rabat - Many Egyptian resorts and restaurants have adopted Hijab-free zone policies, turning women in headscarves away upon entrance.
Rabat – Many Egyptian resorts and restaurants have adopted Hijab-free zone policies, turning women in headscarves away upon entrance.
In a country where 90 percent of its population is Muslim, many feel that these bans are “discriminatory” against practicing Muslim women.
The ban is reportedly popular at upscale resorts and restaurants often visited by foreigners, in cities such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.
Sally Nashaat, a 26-year-old mother of two girls, told Al Arabiya News that she was not allowed to enter a beach clubhouse at a five-star north coast resort for wearing a Hijab.
Among a group of friends, the establishment told her: “Everyone can enter, except her.”
“It feels degrading, we are in our own country and we are not happy.”
“I was about to cry,” Nashaat said, “no one has the right to deprive me of entering. This never happened to me anywhere else, even in the United States.”
Nashaat’s story raises the question of why, in a country dominated by practicing Muslims, such a ban is increasing in popularity.
When asked if the policies banning Hijabs were lawful, Egypt’s tourism ministry’s spokeswoman Rasha Azaizi told an Egyptian talk show on Sunday that the ministry had not “issued any instructions or decisions in that regard.”
Azaizi however reportedly encouraged people to file complaints against resorts and restaurants who impose the Hijab-free policies.
Men and women who argue against the policies believe that it violates the Egyptian constitution, which prohibits any action that discriminates between people or a group of people based on their gender, religion or belief.
Those who support the Hijab-free zone policies believe that private establishments should be able to decide their own rules.
Mervat Tallawy, the head of Egypt’s state council for women, said Egyptian law did not regulate on such issues, and that Hijab-free zones are not discriminatory. Tallawy believes that each private establishment has the right to impose its own dress code.
“An establishment that prevents Hijab-wearing women is just like any other that would ban a man for not wearing a suit,” she told Al Arabiya News.
Tallawy said some of these establishments are trying to “maintain their interests” and “keep up with a certain image.”
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