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Egypt channel to only feature veiled women


A new Egyptian satellite TV channel, exclusively operated and managed by women wearing the niqab or the full-face veil, will start airing from July 20, the first day of Ramadan.


The first niqabi-only 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 was quoted by Al-Ahram as saying.


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


Refai said that Mariya aims to bring back the dignity of fully veiled women who were oppressed and fired from their jobs over the past few decades.


The news of the channel has sent shockwaves in the media circles and comes at at time when Egypt has witnessed an Islamist ascendancy in recent times.


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