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Syria lifts niqab ban, shuts casino, in nod to Sunnis
By REUTERS
04/06/2011
BEIRUT - Syria lifted on Wednesday a ban on teachers wearing the full face veil and ordered the closure of a casino, moves aimed at placating conservative Muslims in the tightly-controlled country that has seen weeks of unrest.

Caretaker Education Minister Ali Saad said the ministry had decided to allow teachers wearing the niqab to return to work, according to state news agency SANA. Assad had imposed the ban on the niqab last year.

Syria's at-Tishreen newspaper also reported the closure of the country's only casino because "those who attended the casino were engaging in unlawful acts."

Wednesday's decisions were aimed at assuaging religious conservatives in the majority Sunni Muslim country, where the ruling hierarchy is of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
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