New Egyptian TV channel to only feature fully face-veiled women

New Egyptian TV channel to only feature fully face-veiled women (Photo: Al Ahram)

The first Egyptian satellite channel completely operated by women wearing the full face veil (niqab) is set to be launched 20 July, which will coincide with the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

The channel will be named "Mariya" after one of Prophet Mohamed's wives, who was a Coptic Egyptian freed slave.  A full niqabi film crew will manage and operate the channel, including TV presenters, producers, directors and correspondents.

The channel will air its programmes through the ultra-conservative Islamic Umma Channel for six hours every day. The majority of the programming will focus on the niqab and married life.

The channel will be exclusively managed by women. Men will be prohibited from working in or appearing on Mariya, and even participating in phone-ins during live programmes.

El-Sheikha Safaa Refai, a preacher who will head the channel, said that Mariya programmes aim to educate Muslim women about their religion.

"Our message will be directed at Muslim women, to teach them the Sunna (practices) of the Prophet Mohamed," Refai told Al-Ahram Arabic news portal Thursday.

Refai pointed out that this is not the first time niqabi women work in the media, adding that they have already been working as presenters in several religious channels over the past few years.

She insisted that the niqab is the proper Muslim attire as stipulated by Islamic Sharia law.

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