The statement by Sheik of al-Azhar University, Egypt, that niqab or face veil has nothing to do with Islam has angered Islamists in that country who say it is part of a larger plan to de-Islamise Egypt. A majority of scholars, however, feel that the niqab is a pre-Islamic custom followed by tribal and nomadic communities living in the Arabian desert. Al-Azhar university has, in fact, gone a step further and banned the niqab in all-women classes.
It may be recalled that a few months back, the Uttar Pradesh Madrassa board had banned co-education in madrassas on the ground that parda (veil) is essential in Islam and co-education encourages 'be-pardagi'.
Is it a coincidence that in every religion there are discriminatory social customs that have been given a religious cloak? Surely God has better things to do!