Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Libya: Mufti issues controversial fatwa on education
Libya's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani, has prompted further controversy by issuing a fatwa declaring that female teachers in schools and colleges must cover their faces if they are teaching males who have reached the age of puberty.
The fatwa was made in response to a request from the Education Ministry that had appealed to Al-Ghariani for a ruling on the matter. The Ministry was concerned that some teachers were wearing the niqab or full face veil during lessons which is something that was making it difficult for students. As such they had hoped that the mufti would rule that it was not obligatory for female teachers to cover their faces in such a situation.
Proving his ultra conservative outlook, however, the mufti ruled that young female teachers should cover their faces. He went further and advocated that, where possible, males and females should be segregated in all educational establishments. Where that was not possible, they should at least be segregated during break times and in communal areas. He also called for separate entrances for males and females and ruled that girls should dress respectfully and be prohibited from wearing make-up and perfume “to avoid temptation”. While the Mufti's fatwa will please certain sections of the Libyan population, it has left others reeling. Although Libya might be a socially conservative and traditional society such practices, that smack of the Gulf, are a step too far for many.
For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.
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