Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

9 January 2014

Egypt: Poll - 57 Percent of Egyptians Prefer Women to Wear Hijab

More than half of Egyptians prefer that women wear the Islamic head scarf (Hijab), a recent poll by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research conducted in seven Muslim-majority countries has shown.

The poll, which was published by Pew Research Center, has surveyed Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It said that 57 percent of Egyptians prefer that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face.

The survey treated the question of women's dress as a visual preference, saying that "how women should dress is in public is an important issue in the Muslim world."

In Egypt, only 14 percent of the poll respondents said that a woman should be free to choose how she dresses.

Each respondent was given a card depicting six styles of women's headdress and asked to choose the woman most appropriately outfitted for a public place.

The styles in the card ranged from a fully-hooded burqa and niqab to the less conservative hijab and lastly, a woman wearing no head covering of any type.

Most Egyptian women were hijab and a significantly smaller percentage wear full niqab which covers the whole body of women except for their eyes.

"What the survey leaves unanswered is whether respondents think social or cultural norms will guide women in their choice to wear more conservative or less conservative attire in public," commented Jacob Poushter from Pew Research Center.

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