Egypt Agog as Hijab Debuts on State TV

Muslim Brotherhood seen as flexing muscle over secular state media
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2012 8:56 AM CDT
Egypt Agog as Hijab Debuts on State TV
Fatma Nabil, shown here from anchoring the news on Misr 25, has started working for Channel 1, marking the first time a woman hearing a hajib has anchored the news on state-run television.   (misr25channel)

A female news anchor on one of Egypt's state-run television stations read the news yesterday while wearing a hijab, a first after a decades-long de facto ban on the Islamic head covering, reports the New York Times. While veiled women are common on many of Egypt's satellite and cable channels, the country's official secularism had kept the hijab off of state-run stations. Its presence yesterday had the country debating heatedly whether it was a sign that the Muslim Brotherhood was moving toward a more Islamist Egypt.

Anchor Fatma Nabil had worked at the Muslim Brotherhood's satellite channel, but started at Channel 1 over the weekend. The new minister of information said her wearing of the hijab represented the “enforcement of the principle of justice in the field of media." State media had for years supported the military government, and since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, often seemed to continue to favor the military over the Brotherhood. But since Morsi forced top military brass to retire last month, many think the presence of Nabil and other veiled women is a sign the Brotherhood is flexing its muscle over Egypt's media. (More Egypt stories.)

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