An Egyptian parliamentarian who is supporting a measure that would ban women from wearing the niqab believes that the custom did not originate in Islam, but in the Jewish tradition.

If the ban were to be approved, it would outlaw the veil which covers the entire face, denying women the right to wear it in public places and government buildings.

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MP Amna Nosseir, a professor of comparative jurisprudence at the prestigious Al-Azhar University, said that she is supporting the measure because the veil is a custom that was introduced before the advent of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.

Nosseir said that while the Koran does call for women to dress modestly, there is no Islamic decree that mandates the wearing of the full-face veil.

Egyptian authorities have taken incremental steps to phase out the niqab. Last month, Cairo University prohibited nurses and doctors from wearing it in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

The school also forbade female students from wearing it in the classroom in order to facilitate more effective communication.

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