Niqabs only on new Egyptian TV channel
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Niqabs only on new Egyptian TV channel

A new Egyptian television channel will only feature broadcasters who wear the traditional naqib both in front of, and behind, the camera

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Presenters on a new Egyptian tv channel will stay out of sight. (photo credit: CC BY/Alfred Weidinger, Flickr)
Presenters on a new Egyptian tv channel will stay out of sight. (photo credit: CC BY/Alfred Weidinger, Flickr)

A new satellite television channel featuring only women wearing a traditional Muslim face-covering will be unveiled later this month, Ahram Online reported on Thursday.

The new station, the first of its kind in Egypt, will exclusively feature women dressed in the niqab veil, a full head covering with only a slit for the eyes, as prescribed by Islamic Sharia law.

In addition to the presenters, the all-female staff, including the camera crews and technical support will all be under cover.

Set to launch on July 20, the same day as the start of Ramadan, the Maraya channel is named after one of the prophet Mohammad’s wives, a freed Egyptian Coptic slave.

The channel will broadcast six hours of faceless programs a day on the ultra-conservative Islamic Umma Channel with an eye, and only an eye, on the virtues of the niqab and married life.

Female preacher El-Sheikha Safaa Refai, who will head the channel, revealed that broadcasts will be a (not) barefaced effort to educate Muslim women about religion.

Scheduled shows will include “Memoires of a woman” in which presenters peep into the hidden world of women who cheat on their husbands.

“Our message will be directed at Muslim women, to teach them the practices of the Prophet Mohammed,” Refai told Ahram and noted that veiled women have worked in the media for several years now, including as presenters.

The idea for the channel is the brainchild of El-Sheikh Abu Islam Ahmed Abdallah, the owner of the Umma Channel. After first producing a handful of niqabi programmes for his channel, Abdallah went one stage further with an entire veiled station.

Not just presenters and staff of the station will be under wraps, but so too any guests and critics featured in live broadcasts. If a niqab-adorned expert is not available then women appearing on shows will be give a choice: either slip on a veil or agree to having their features blurred out during the broadcast.

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