Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?

Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?

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I've been reading archeological claims that say that the ancient Egyptians came from the South and that the first chiefdoms and kings were in the south.

Some also claim that there is a crown of Upper and lower Egypt, with the southern or white crown (Upper Egypt) being superior to the red crown.

If I take the Bible as a historical document, Ezekiel 29:14-15 says :

"After forty years, I will gather the Egyptians from all lands to which I scattered them, and they shall go into Pathros the land of their Nativity and they shall be there a base kingdom"…

So I want to know how this is possible. The Egyptians are middle Easterners, they are Semitic people. So how can archeologists claim that they came from the south.

So I would like to know:

  • Where Pathros is located historically

  • The pieces of evidence that argue for or against a Northern origin of the Egyptian civilization.

The direct answer is that in modern Egyptian geographical terms, they came from central Egypt. In ancient historical terms, from "Upper Egypt".

First off, I need to address a misconception in the question. Modern Egyptians mostly speak Arabic, but the Egyptian language spoken by the Ancient Egyptians was not Semitic. It was part of another branch of the Afroasiatic language family (and lives on today only in the "dead" liturgical language of Coptic). Here's a very rough map showing the various branches' distributions at 500BC (prior to the Muslim/Arab Conquests).

The first pharaohs of the dynastic period in Egypt appear to have hailed from upper Egypt (roughly the smack dab in the middle of what is modern Egypt). Archeologically, the precursor to Ancient Dynastic Egypt is called the Naqauda culture after the excavation site, which is a smidge further up the Nile, but still in the middle of modern Egypt. This site goes back to 4000 BC. Prior to that for a few hundred years in this same area was the Badari Culture. The latter was the first Neolithic (farming) culture in that area. So your best bet for the original home of Egyptian culture is in that general vicinity. However, there were even earlier cereal-based proto-agricultural societies further south (upriver) in what is now modern Southern Egypt and extreme Northern Sudan*, and was in ancient times known as Nubia.

If you want to go further back than that, we have to talk about the proto-Afroasiatic people. There are several disparate theories for where their original homeland was, including the Levant, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, and the Sahel.

Personally, I think the Horn of Africa theory is the most compelling because evidence from multiple disciplines points there, but I've certainly ended up wrong on such things before.

* - In absence of any good scholarly information on what peoples this society was composed of, I think Nilo-Saharans the most likely theory.

I understand why these statements may appear to be contradictory, but - as with many things - much of the confusion probably stems from the terminology being used. So, firstly, let's be clear about definitions.

The Ancient Egyptian civilisation is generally accepted to have originated in the Neolithic with the Faiyum A culture in Lower Egypt (with evidence dating back to about 6000 BCE), and the Badari culture, which has given us the earliest evidence of agriculture and permanent settlement in Upper Egypt dating to around 5000 BCE. These were followed by the more-familiar Naqada Neolithic cultures, also located in Upper Egypt.

Upper Egypt is broadly defined as the Nile valley between the Cataracts of the Nile (above modern-day Aswan), downriver (northwards), roughly to the area of modern El-Ayait.

The Ancient Egyptian name for this region was written in hieroglyphs as:

which transliterates as tA Smaw, and might be translated - rather appropriately - as "the Land of Reeds".

[Lower Egypt] is, broadly speaking, the Nile delta. It runs from modern El-Ayait north to the Mediterranean.

The Ancient Egyptian name for this region was written in hieroglyphs as:

which transliterates as tA mHw. Literally, "the land of papyrus".

Just to complicate matters, the northern part of Upper Egypt, between the city of Sohag and El-Ayait is also known as Middle Egypt


There were indeed two crowns associated with Upper and Lower Egypt. The White Crown, (ḥḏt) or Hedjet was the crown of Upper Egypt:

and the Red Crown, (dSrt) or Deshret was the crown of Lower Egypt:

After the unification, these crowns were combined to create the sḫm.ty or "Pschent" double-crown:

In the combined crown, sḫm.ty, the White Crown appears above the Red Crown, and I suspect that this is what you are referring to when you say that:

"… there is a crown of Upper and lower Egypt, with the southern or white crown (Upper Egypt) being superior to the red crown".

Although, as we'll see below, the unification of Egypt was achieved by the kings of Upper Egypt, who then became the kings of the new unified kingdom, so the ḥḏt crown might also be considered 'superior' in that sense.

The Origins of the Ancient Egyptians

This is actually one of the hot topics in modern Egyptology.

As I mentioned above, the earliest evidence we have for permanent 'settlement' and agriculture in Ancient Egypt is from the Neolithic Faiyum A culture. This dates from about 6000 BCE and located in the Faiyum basin in Lower Egypt.

The Faiyum A culture has also given us the earliest evidence for weaving in Ancient Egypt. Unlike the later Neolithic cultures of the Nile Valley, there is no evidence to suggest that the Faiyum A culture ever developed anything that we would recognise as a permanent village or town. The only permanent, fixed, features that we have been able to identify are hearths and granaries.

Nevertheless, if you want to define the origin of the Egyptian civilization as the earliest 'settled' culture, then the Faiyum A culture in Lower Egypt (i.e. the North of the country) would be a contender.

On the other hand, many - perhaps most - people would include permanent villages or towns among the hallmarks of a 'civilisation'. In that case, you would probably have to consider the Badari culture to be the origin. After all, this is the culture for which we have the earliest evidence (dating to around 5000 BCE) for agriculture and permanent settlement in Upper Egypt (i.e. the South of the country).

If you are looking more generally for the origins of the Ancient Egyptians as a people, the latest DNA analysis that I'm aware of (involving 166 samples from 151 mummified individuals), which provides:

"the first reliable data set obtained from ancient Egyptians using high-throughput DNA sequencing methods and assessing the authenticity of the retrieved ancient DNA via characteristic nucleotide misincorporation patterns and statistical contamination tests to ensure the ancient origin of [the] data."

found that the ancient Egyptians actually most closely resembled ancient and modern Near Eastern and European populations, especially those in the Levant.

Although only 3 complete DNA sequences were obtained (largely due to the difficulties of recovering uncontaminated ancient DNA), the team also recovered mitochondrial DNA from 90 of the individuals tested. The study included samples from individuals from Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt and the Faiyum. The DNA analysis did not indicate any significant differences between the origins of the peoples of any of the parts of Ancient Egypt.

This last finding agrees with the results of a 2007 study into craniometric variation, titled
Population Continuity or Population Change: Formation of the Ancient Egyptian State and published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, which indicated:

… overall population continuity over the Predynastic and early Dynastic, and high levels of genetic heterogeneity, thereby suggesting that state formation occurred as a mainly indigenous process.

At this point, it is probably worth mentioning the oft-quoted (or, more accurately, 'oft-misquoted') study of the DNA of the Pharaoh Ramesses III. Reports in the popular press have frequently claimed that he was of "African descent" because the analysis showed the presence of the E1b1b haplogroup.

The analysis was carried out by the company, DNA Tribes, and their findings were reported in the the DNA Tribes® Digest February 1, 2013. Their conclusion actually states:

These results indicate that both Ramesses III and Unknown Man E (possibly his son Pentawer) shared an ancestral component with present day populations of Sub-Saharan Africa. This preliminary analysis based on eight STR markers does not identify the percentages of Sub-Saharan African ancestry for these ancient individuals. This preliminary analysis also does not exclude additional ancestral components (such as Near Eastern or Mediterranean related components) for these ancient pharaonic Egyptians.

In addition, these DNA match results in present day world regions might in part express population changes in Africa after the time of Ramesses III. In particular, DNA matches in present day populations of Southern Africa and the African Great Lakes might to some degree reflect genetic links with ancient populations (formerly living closer to New Kingdom Egypt) that have expanded southwards in the Nilotic and Bantu migrations of the past 3,000 years.

This is entirely consistent with the results of the study by the Max Planck Institute, discussed above.

[In this context, it is also worth mentioning that haplogroup E-M2 (formerly referred to as E1b1a) is believed, on present evidence, to have originated in the Horn of Africa around 42,000 years BP. Frankly, given the proximity to the Nile Valley, it would indeed be remarkable if this haplogroup were not represented in Ancient Egyptian populations].

However, rather than describing the Ancient Egyptians as "middle Easterners" or a "Semitic people" (neither of which are correct), on the basis of the best currently available evidence, it is perhaps better to think of them in their contemporary context as simply an "Eastern Mediterranean people".

The Unification of Egypt

We have good archaeological evidence for a number of conflicts in the Predynastic Period in Ancient Egypt.

These initially resulted in the emergence of the two 'kingdoms' of Upper and Lower Egypt (tA Smaw and tA mHw). These two kingdoms were eventually unified into a single kingdom with a single ruler. The evidence at present is incomplete, but the process of unification seems to have taken a number of years, and appears to have been completed during the reign of King Narmer. This is probably the event famously commemorated in one of the best-known artefacts from Ancient Egypt, the Narmer Palette:

  • Image source Wikimedia

Since Narmer was the king of Upper Egypt (i.e. the South of Egypt) before unification, this meant that the first kings of the new unified kingdom were, indeed, 'from the south'.

The Location of Pathros

As regards the quotation from Ezekiel, I would generally be cautious when citing the Bible as an historical document. When considered in isolation, it is at best, an unreliable historical source. That is not to say that it is entirely without value as an source (and it is most certainly not "just a work of fiction"!). I would recommend taking a look at Converting the Past: Studies in Ancient Israelite and Moabite Historiography, by K.A.D. Smelik (especially the first paper, titled 'The Use of the Hebrew Bible as a Historical Source: An Introduction') if you can get hold of a copy. Professor Smelik identifies many of the challenges we face when trying to use the Bible as an historical source and several of the ways in which these challenges might be overcome.

On the more general question of the identification of "Pathros" as "Upper Egypt", @LangLangC has already dealt with this in some detail in his answer.

However, I'd just like to add a link to a 1959 paper, Egypt and the Bible: Some Recent Advances, by the Egyptologist and Bible scholar, Kenneth Kitchen, which includes some additional observations on the etymology of the name "Pathros" for "Upper Egypt" and which you may find interesting.

As with many ancient genealogies the attempts to trace back any ancestry is often very overzealous in trying to reach back as far as possible, thereby leaving behind any firm footing provided by evidence quite too often.

If the "civilization of ancient Egypt" is the focus of a question it seems logical to compare ancient sources with contemporary understanding of the meaning of those sources. When those sources diverge - or start for that matter - into mythological terms and times they have to be taken with quite a few grains of salt regarding their reliability.

That means for this question: we likely have to start by first looking at what Egyptian civilization might mean. Are 'Adam and Eve' part of the Egyptian civilization? - No. Are Y-Adam or mtEve part of that civilization? - No. Those concepts are trying to reach back too far.

Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) WP: Ancient Egypt

Going back much further is probably quite senseless if the topic is "civilization". Yes, there were people on earth before that, there were some in the Nile valley before that, but these peoples were not what is commonly understood as civilization of Egypt.

Predynastic Egypt is conventionally said to begin about 6000 BCE.

But enough of the commentary, this post is here to address another aspect from the question:

Where Pathros is located historically

That is: what did the writers of the relevant biblical texts mean by that?

the name generally given to Upper Egypt (the Thebaid of the Greeks), as distinguished from Matsor, or Lower Egypt (Isaiah 11:11 ; Jeremiah 44:1 Jeremiah 44:15 ; Ezekiel 30:14), the two forming Mizraim. After the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, colonies of Jews settled "in the country of Pathros" and other parts of Egypt.

Or: פתרוס:

Etymology and meaning of the name Pathros The name Pathros is probably a transliteration of the Egyptian pe-te-res, meaning South Land. The writers of the Septuagint transliterated the name Pathros with Pa-athyris, meaning Belonging to Athor, but who Athor is remains a mystery.

The name Pathros may have reminded a Hebrew audience of the verb פתר (patar), meaning interpret (dreams):

פתר The root-verb פתר (patar) means to interpret dreams. This verb's sole derivation is the masculine noun פתרון (pitron), meaning interpretation. Both the verb and the noun occur in the Bible only in Genesis 40 and 41, where Joseph interprets the dreams of his fellow inmates and finally the Pharaoh.

BDB Theological Dictionary reports a basic meaning of dissolve, hence solve and interpret, based on similar words in cognate languages. In post-OT texts this word became commonly used to denote explanations of or commentaries on Scriptures.

But that verb neither contains nor explains the letter ס (samekh).

Some words of interest: פתה (pata), meaning to entice, deceive, persuade. Derivation פתי (peti) means simple, foolish. פת (pat) means fragment, bit.

The verb רסס (rasas) means moisten. Derivation רסיס (rasis) means drop of dew. The identical but unused and not translatable root רסס (rss) yields identical derivation רסיס (rasis), meaning fragment.

Hence to the Hebrews the name Pathros may have sounded like Bits And Pieces, or even Wet Lands, and Entreaty For A Drop, or any combination of the above.

That means: a supposed geographical accuracy of that very term is probably less strict than most dictionary entries would imply. It is identified as Upper Egypt, around Thebes, but it is not established fact that all authors of the bible confirmed to this definition and very probable that at least early readers and listeners would identify this simply as "along the Nile."

Pathros (region of the south), a part of Egypt, and a Mizraite tribe whose people were called Pathrusim. In the list of the Mizraites the Pathrusim occur after the Naphtuhim and before the Caluhim; the latter being followed by the notice of the Philistines and by the Caphtorim. (Genesis 10:13,14; 1 Chronicles 1:12) Pathros is mentioned in the prophecies of Isaiah, (Isaiah 11:11) Jeremiah (Jeremiah 44:1,15) and Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 29:14; 30:13-18) It was probably part or all of upper Egypt, and we may trace its name in the Pathyrite name, in which Thebes was situated.

According to Fausset's Bible Dictionary it gets even more colourful:

PATHROS or PATHRUSIM. A "district" (the Pathyrite nome) of Egypt near Thebes; named from a town called by the Egyptians Ha-Hather or with the article Pha-Hat-her, "the abode of Hather" the Egyptian Venus. Originally independent of Egypt, and ruled by its own kings, In the Mosaic genealogy the Pathros were the inhabitants of Upper Egypt; originally in the Bible view a colony of Mizraites from Lower Egypt (Genesis 10:13-14; 1 Chronicles 1:12). Isaiah (Isaiah 11:11) foretells Israel's return from Pathros (Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 44:15; Ezekiel 29:14.) "Pathros the land of their birth" (margin Ezekiel 30:13-18). The Thebaid was the oldest part of Egypt in civilization and art, and was anciently called "Egypt" (Aristotle): Herod. 2:15. Tradition represented the people of Egypt as coming from Ethiopia, and the first dynasty as Thinite. "Pa-t-res" in Egyptian means "the land of the South".

Ancient Egyptians were a mixture of Native Black Africans & Eurasian peoples from the middle east. In latter periods such as Hysko, Assyrian, Persian & Greco-Roman the Eurasian element increased.

The latest DNA study many mainstream sites point to was conducted on a site called El Al Busar. Al Busar was in an area heavily populated by technically immigrant populations. The grave site those mummies came from was heavily used by the Hyskos, Assyrians, Persians & Greco-Roman conquerors. All mummies dated from 1500 bce to the Roman era, so this is basically from Hysko rule, a brief resurgence & foreign rule until Arab culture fully erased any real remnants of Pharonic civilization. If you read the actual study itself, it cites these facts & even states the results might vary if they conducted test from another site.

Pharonic Egypt lasted for about 4k years & being at the cross roads of Africa,Asia & the Mediterranean heavy miscegenation & population flux took place. This is why the DNA Tribes test conducted on Amarna period mummies points to a preponderance of Sub Saharan & African Great Lakes DNA & the recent Al Busar study is practically the opposite.

If anyone looks at the Ancient Egyptian artifacts honestly you see both Caucasian & African phenotypes & many phenotypes that resemble bi-racial people today.

The African Ancient Egyptian civilization started up south.

I've been reading archeological claims that say that the ancient Egyptians came from the South and that the first chiefdoms and kings were in the south.

That is correct.

Some also claim that there is a crown of Upper and lower Egypt, with the southern or white crown (Upper Egypt) being superior to the red crown.

It is not clear what you mean by "superior".

If I take the Bible as a historical document, Ezekiel 29:14-15 says :

The Bible is historically worthless. Especially when it comes to attempting to use those fictional accounts to substantiate any historical facts concerning the African Ancient Egyptians. The first "Bible" ("Old Testament") was not printed en masse in Europe until 1475 C.E. by Gutenberg; or rather, the individuals whom Gutenberg owed money to. The first Bible printed containing both the "Old Testament" and "New Testament" did not occur until 1537 C.E. Again, those dates have absolutely nothing to do with Ancient Egypt in Africa.

Importantly, an individual has to believe in the fictional stories in the so-called "Bible"

The Date of Noah's Flood by Dr John Osgood

The question as to exactly when Noah's Flood occurred has seen a variety of different answers from scholars through the years. The only possible way such a date could be obtained is if the documented evidence which exists provides enough clues to pinpoint the event. Now, while there are many documents and folk histories concerning Noah's Flood, the most detailed description occurs in the Biblical text. Does the Bible contain sufficient chronological data to enable us to put a time on Noah's Flood? I believe it does and I believe it does this so clearly that no doubt should remain either about the timing or the nature of this judgment by God upon this earth.

The art of the Biblical chronologist or Date-finder is a mystery to most, so let me explain how such a date can be found. Firstly, I will take a brief look at the assumptions or starting points which I will use.

I must assume or believe to be true that the information about dates does exist in the Bible (otherwise I would not start to look).

I must assume that such information is reliable and the writers did not set out to deceive. (This assumption must be made about any historical document before it is examined.) Therefore if I find apparent contradictory evidence in the text, I will first assume that a problem exists in my understanding rather than the text.

Thirdly, I assume that since the Bible is God's revealed word to man, it is accurate and therefore will not conflict with true historical information derived from outside the Biblical text.

Lastly, I assume that the best way of using information from one part of the Bible is to use it the way the Biblical writers used it or referred to it in other parts of the Bible.

… The placing of a catastrophic global flood in the year 2304 BC means that all civilizations discovered by archaeology must fit into the last 4,285 years. The significance of this fact will be pursued in later articles. [Ed. note: - for more information, see TJ 2 (1986), pp. 56-87 and TJ 3 (1988), pp. 96-136.]

The belief in "a catastrophic global flood in the year 2304 BC" is inconsistent with the actual historical evidence (even that presented by western academia) that there is an unbroken line of African Ancient Egyptian "kings" from at least 2649 B.C.E. through to at least 653 B.C.E. (so-called "Nubian"), see List of Rulers of Ancient Egypt and Nubia; for more details see Working with Egyptian King-lists

Order of Discussion Considering Neferefre's Anchor Date of 2750 BCE Having determined the nature of the information in the king-lists prior to the reign of Neferefre, I will next discuss the kings from Neferefre down to Unas - the remainder of the 5th Dynasty, and the kings of the 6th and 8th Dynasties. Beginning with Neferefre, whose w3gy date fell in 2750 BCE, these kings are able to be dated through a combination of data from the Turin Canon, lunar dates, other sources such as mason's inscriptions, and the census counts as provided by the South Saqqara Stone.

(Temple of Seti I, at Abydos)

Thus, the Bible is totally irrelevant to

So I want to know how this is possible. The Egyptians are middle Easterners, they are Semitic people. So how can archeologists claim that they came from the south.

The term "middle Easterners" or "Middle East" is a modern geopolitical term having nothing to do with the African Ancient Egyptians.

The term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office.7 However, it became more widely known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 19027 to "designate the area between Arabia and India".8 During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game.

Similarly, the term "Semite" is also a term which was not used in Ancient Egypt in Africa.

Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta.

Where Pathros is located historically

Am not certain about fictional accounts or stories in the Bible. They are not related whatsoever to actual history which can be verified.

The pieces of evidence that argue for or against a Northern origin of the Egyptian civilization.

It depends on which period of time you are talking about. If we use the western academic "Out of Africa" theory

In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans, also called the "Out of Africa" theory (OOA), recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH), replacement hypothesis, or recent African origin model (RAO), is the dominant1 model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens).

The model proposes a "single origin" of Homo sapiens in the taxonomic sense, precluding parallel evolution of traits considered anatomically modern in other regions,7 but not precluding limited admixture between H. sapiens and archaic humans in Europe and Asia.[note 1] H. sapiens most likely developed in the Horn of Africa between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. The "recent African origin" model proposes that all modern non-African populations are substantially descended from populations of H. sapiens that left Africa after that time.

they were no other people on the planet besides those in sub-Sarahan Africa.

That means, according to western academia, the origin of humanity is sub-Saharan Africa. The Ancient Egyptian civilization is at least 26,000 years old, as reflected in the procession of the equinoxes encoded into the so-called "Giza complex", where the Great Pyramid of Khufu still stands, see Astronomical Alignment in Egyptian Pyramids; Precession and the Pyramid Astronomical Knowledge in Ancient Egypt; Giza - the Time Machine; Is the Fall Equinox the Secret to the Pyramids' Near-Perfect Alignment?.

The first humans did not know how long a solar year was until the first solar year that they observed completed. The same reasoning applies to procession of the equinoxes being encoded into the so-called "Giza complex".

That is, the only way for the African Ancient Egyptians to accurately or approximately calculate the procession of the equinoxes, or the Great Year, is the have actually have observed the entire cycle.

Since there has been confusion as to the reasoning for drawing the above conclusion, to avoid such confusion, attribute that portion of this answer to this user: guest271314.

Those same original people went across the globe, populating the planet. At some point western academia states that those original African people mated with the different species Neanderthal, and Denisovan. Those resulting matings are what is considered to be modern Europeans.

See There's No Scientific Basis for Race-It's a Made-Up Label by Elizabeth Kolbert

All non-Africans today, the genetics tells us, are descended from a few thousand humans who left Africa maybe 60,000 years ago. These migrants were most closely related to groups that today live in East Africa, including the Hadza of Tanzania. Because they were just a small subset of Africa's population, the migrants took with them only a fraction of its genetic diversity.

Somewhere along the way, perhaps in the Middle East, the travelers met and had sex with another human species, the Neanderthals; farther east they encountered yet another, the Denisovans. It's believed that both species evolved in Eurasia from a hominin that had migrated out of Africa much earlier. Some scientists also believe the exodus 60,000 years ago was actually the second wave of modern humans to leave Africa. If so, judging from our genomes today, the second wave swamped the first.

Neanderthal Sex Could Explain Why Europeans And Africans Have Different Immune Systems by Peter Dockrill

In addition to measuring how effectively the macrophages combated the pathogens, the researchers analysed the gene activity of these immune cells, and found evidence linking the European samples - but not the African blood - with Neanderthal DNA.

The team's hypothesis is that when early humans migrated out of Africa and into Europe around 100,000 years ago, they would have encountered a continent colonised by Neanderthals.

For thousands of years, it's possible that these two species did more than just co-exist alongside one another. The researchers suggest they also bred, which would account for why traces of Neanderthal DNA can be found in European blood.

That still means the original humans came from the up south. Along the way down north several hundred pyramids and temples were built (for example, the hundreds of pyramids in Sudan), including the step pyramid of Imhotep.

Even if the recent claims of "crossing the Red Sea" are taken literally it would mean that African were capable of building sea-faring ships - long before Columbus - originating from sub-Saharan Africa.

There is no evidence in Europe that suggests people came from Europe to Africa to contribute to the African Ancient Egyptian civilization. Similarly, there is no evidence that people from the so-called "Near East" came into Ancient Egypt bring their knowledge to the civilization of Ancient Egypt in Africa. What is clear is that the deities Bes

and Ptah

are from up south in sub-Saharan Africa, which are physically representative of the Great Lakes Twa people

The Great Lakes Twa, also known as Batwa, Abatwa or Ge-Sera, are a pygmy people who are generally assumed to be the oldest surviving population of the Great Lakes region of central Africa

The origin of the African Ancient Egyptians is the highlands of Ethiopia, Uganda (if DNA evidence satisfies your inquiry, notwithstanding the issues with the use of CSR, see Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs related to Ugandans - DNA by David Sepuya Kalanzi (Saturday August 16 2014) "The conclusion of the tests were that the mummies autosomal profiles would be most frequent in the present day populations of the African Great Lakes region and Southern Africa. Subsequent analysis of the autosomal profile of the mummy of Pharaoh Rameses III also concluded that this matched the genetic profiles of the population of the Great Lakes region as well." ), Sudan, Kenya, Congo, Chad, Somalia, Eritrea - as those cultures combined and moved down north to contribute to the Ancient Egyptian civilization.


Nubia ( / ˈ nj uː b i ə / ) is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between the first cataract of the Nile (just south of Aswan in southern Egypt) and the confluence of the Blue and White Niles (south of Khartoum in central Sudan), or more strictly, Al Dabbah. [2] [3] [4] It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, the Kerma culture, which lasted from around 2500 BC until its conquest by the New Kingdom of Egypt under Pharaoh Thutmose I around 1500 BC, whose heirs ruled most of Nubia for the next 400 years. Nubia was home to several empires, most prominently the kingdom of Kush, which conquered Egypt in eighth-century BC during the reign of Piye and ruled the country as its 25th Dynasty (to be replaced a century later by the native Egyptian 26th Dynasty).

From the 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD, northern Nubia would be invaded and annexed to Egypt, ruled by the Greeks and Romans. This territory would be known in the Greco-Roman world as Dodekaschoinos.

Kush's collapse in the fourth century AD was preceded by an invasion from Ethiopia's Kingdom of Aksum and the rise of three Christian kingdoms: Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia. Makuria and Alodia lasted for roughly a millennium. Their eventual decline started not only the partition of Nubia, which was split into the northern half conquered by the Ottomans and the southern half by the Sennar sultanate, in the sixteenth century, but also a rapid Islamization and partial Arabization of the Nubian people. Nubia was reunited with the Khedivate of Egypt in the nineteenth century. Today, the region of Nubia is split between Egypt and Sudan.

The primarily archaeological science dealing with ancient Nubia is called Nubiology.

How Did the Nubians Impact Ancient Egypt?

Among ancient Egypt’s many neighbors were the Nubians, who inhabited the Nile Valley to the south of Egypt in what is today the nation-state of Sudan. Although the Egyptians and Nubians had many peaceful interactions over several centuries, the two peoples' political leaders had a more acrimonious and contentious relationship. When the Egyptian state was strong, Nubia was usually weak and vice versa. To the Nubians, Egypt was the source of high-culture and civilization that they admired and eventually replicated in many ways. Simultaneously, the Egyptians viewed the lands to their south as a source of resources to be exploited. Gold, ivory, and ebony were commodities that the Egyptians took from Nubia and traded with other Near Eastern kingdoms as far away as Babylon and Assyria.

But the relationship between the Nubians and Egyptians extended far beyond exploitation of resources and ancient forms of colonialism by the first millennium BC, the Nubians had impacted many aspects of pharaonic culture. In 728 BC, a Nubian king named Piankhy, or Piye, led an army from Nubia north into Egypt and conquered the land, establishing the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty. Although the Nubian Twenty-Fifth Dynasty lasted less than 100 years, its kings were very active in shaping Egypt’s political situation.

The Nubians also influenced the Egyptian culture of the Late Period – the period from approximately 728 BC until the Christian Era – by promoting “archaizing” features in royal ideology and art. Their influence on Egyptian art is perhaps the most noticeable because it reintroduced older styles while putting their own unique stamp on the finished products, especially in reliefs and statuary. They usually depicted themselves with their distinct sub-Saharan racial features instead of as typical Egyptians.

Ancient Nubian Culture

The term “Nubia” is actually a modern word, which may be derived from the ancient Egyptian word for gold – nebu. To both the Egyptians and Nubians, the Nile River was the source of their lifeblood. It brought yearly floods that allowed their crops to grow, so both peoples were geographically orientated along a north-south axis. The Egyptians referred to anything south of the first cataract (cataracts are rocky portions of a river unnavigable by boat) as “Wawat,” and anything south of the second cataract was called “Kush.” Collectively, Wawat and Kush comprise the region that modern scholars generally refer to as Nubia. [1]

The Egyptians were a fairly xenophobic people who often used various names to refer to their neighbors and other non-Egyptians with whom they dealt. They often referred to the Nubians in texts by the fairly neutral term “Nehesy,” but also liked to employ more colorful epithets such as the “wretched Kushites.” [2] The ancient Egyptians were quite cognizant of the differences between them and all of their neighbors, as evidenced by the many “smiting” scenes on New Kingdom temples where the Egyptian king is shown about to club bound foreign prisoners with a mace.

The tomb of the New Kingdom Nineteenth Dynasty Egyptian King Seti I (reigned ca. 1305-1290 BC) depicts Egypt’s three major neighbors and enemies: Nubians, Libyans, and Asiatics/Canaanites. [3] Each of the non-Egyptians was depicted wearing his traditional clothing and with his specific skin color and facial features – the Nubian was shown as black, as opposed to the reddish-brown Egyptian, and with clearly sub-Saharan African facial features. Based on the art historical evidence in Egypt, especially from the New Kingdom, one may think there was a clear and distinct line between the Egyptians and Nubians, but this was not always the case.

From a relatively early time, Egyptians and Nubians interacted peacefully with each other in trade, as neighbors in Egyptian held portions of Nubia, and some even intermarried. Egyptian kings were impressed with the Nubians’ martial abilities and often used Nubian bowmen contingents in their armies as mercenaries. Nubian mercenaries would work and live in Egypt and sometimes married Egyptians. Several examples of funerary stelae (offering stones) from Egypt’s First Intermediate Period (ca. 2150-2050 BC) depict Nubian mercenaries with their Egyptian wives. The Nubian mercenaries are dressed in traditional Egyptian clothing, but their skin color and physiognomy show them clearly as Nubian. [4]

In Nubia proper, Nubian cultural life was centered around the city of Napata, which functioned as the capital for most ancient Nubia’s early existence. [5] Kerma grew steadily in size and influence through the late third millennium BC and into the early second millennium BC – which coincided with the first collapse of the Egyptian state, known by modern scholars as the “First Intermediate Period” – until Upper and Lower Egypt were united once more during the Middle Kingdom (ca. 1975-1640 BC).

Senusret I (ruled ca. 1971-1926 BC), the second king of Egypt’s Twelfth Dynasty, proved to be an especially warlike pharaoh, which was detrimental to the Kerma state. The Egyptian king led several military campaigns into Nubia. He created a series of thirteen forts from the first cataract just south of Aswan/Abu in the north to the second cataract, near the city of Buhen in the south. [6] Egypt was clearly the stronger state at that point in history and influenced Nubia much more culturally than the other way around. For instance, the early Nubian architecture of palaces and tombs was circular and more traditionally African but was gradually replaced by a rectangular, Egyptian shape. [7]

The Height of Nubian Power

The height of Nubian political power in the region came during Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1750-1650 BC), when a foreign dynasty known as the “Hyksos” people were in control of northern Egypt. Though, the Nubians had extended their power from the Dongola Reach region around Kerma all the way north to the first cataract. [8] and were apparently not content with that as they were involved in an alliance with the Hyksos. [9] The Nubians probably had their eyes set on acquiring the region around Thebes, which also happened to be the home of the only native Egyptian dynasty at the time, but quickly had their plans destroyed when the Egyptian King Ahmose (reigned ca. 1552-1527 BC) came to power, initiating the Eighteenth Dynasty and the New Kingdom and putting Nubia once more into an inferior political position.

Nubia during Egypt’s New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1075 BC)

Nubia’s political ambitions took a dramatic turn for the worse when the Egyptian king Thutmose III (ruled ca. 1479-1425 BC) came to the throne. Thutmose III was a particularly active military pharaoh who is often compared to Julius Caesar. Most of Thutmose III’s recorded military campaigns were of his several Levant expeditions. Still, he did leave many textual and pictorial depictions of his campaigns into Nubia. He had a victory stela erected in the Nubian city of Gebel Barkal near the fourth cataract, indicating Egyptian influence, if not outright control, extended that far south during the New Kingdom. [10]

By the Nineteenth Dynasty, the Egyptians had colonized Nubia so thoroughly that a new government office was created known as the “king’s son of Kush.” The king’s son of Kush essentially functioned as a viceroy of the region, overseeing the trade and colonization. [11] But as with hundreds of years of prior Egyptian-Nubian history, Egypt’s primacy would falter once more, and Nubia would be there to take advantage.

The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty

Egypt’s the New Kingdom collapsed over a long period marked by widespread migrations of Libyans into Egypt, especially in the Delta region. The result was a politically fragmented Egypt: a dynasty of native Egyptian priests temporarily ruled the region around Thebes. In contrast, the Twenty-First through the Twenty-Fourth dynasties were all Libyan in ethnic origins, often ruling different parts of the country simultaneously. [12] This period of political fragmentation and Libyan domination has become known as the Third Intermediate Period (1075-664 BC) by modern historians. Before Egypt politically and socially disintegrated, the Nubians moved their capital farther south to Napata, which was located near the fourth cataract.

Over the course of hundreds of years, the Nubians adopted many of the Egyptians' important cultural attributes, including writing and aspects of their religion. In many ways, by the time of the Third Intermediate Period, the Nubians were more pious followers of the Egyptian pantheon than the Egyptians were. Because of their faith in the Egyptian religion, the Nubian elite developed close ties to the priesthood of the god Amun of Thebes. It was probably under their urging that Piankhy (reigned over Egypt 728-714 BC) decided to invade Egypt to dislodge a Libyan potentate named Tefnakht from power in the Delta. [13]

Piankhy marched north along the Nile with his army, defeating one Libyan potentate after another until they all pledged their fealty to him. [14] After defeating the Nubians, Piankhy returned to the royal palace in Napata and never returned to Egypt, but he did establish a long-lasting political connection. Piankhy’s successors would comprise Egypt’s Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, ruling over both Nubia and Egypt from the Egyptian capitals of Memphis and Thebes.

There was once a consensus among Egyptologists that Shabaqa (reigned 714-702 BC) was Piankhy’s successor and that Shebitqu (ruled 702-690 BC) next, but some scholars have inverted the rules of the two kings in recent years. One source that favors the first chronology is a transmission from the third century BC Hellenized Egyptian historian, Manetho. According to two of Manetho’s fragments, Shabaqa had to invade Egypt to defeat a usurper in the Delta.

The man in question was Bakenranef (reigned ca. 724-712 BC), who was Tefnakht’s successor and the sole king of the Libyan Twenty-Fourth Dynasty city of Sais. One of the fragments states: Sabacôn, who, taking Bochchôris captive, burned him alive and reigned for 8 years.” [15] Shabaqa’s actions put the Nubians in firm control of Egypt once more, which would last until the Assyrians arrived in 671 BC.

Shebitqu’s successor, Taharqa (ruled 690-664 BC), was probably the ablest of all the Nubian kings. Taharqa was active in foreign affairs, siding with the Kingdom of Israel against Assyria, which unfortunately for Egypt eventually brought the Assyrians’ wrath to the Nile Valley. Taharqa’s wars with Assyria began around 674 BC, but before that time, the Nubian pharaoh embarked on ambitious building programs throughout Egypt. [16]

Taharqa was an active builder in the region around Thebes, adding to existing temples through repairs and additions. One of the more interesting additions Taharqa made was a scene he added to the second pylon of the Medinet Habu temple. New Kingdom temples were traditionally built with large gateways, known as pylons, which were decorated with colorful pictorial reliefs of the pharaoh smiting Egypt's traditional enemies. The Medinet Habu temple's second pylon has a somewhat ironic relief depicting King Taharqa smiting Nubian prisoners. [17] Taharqa certainly influenced Egypt’s foreign affairs and architecture to a certain extent, but the greatest impact the Nubians had was in the realm of art.

Perhaps the Nubians' greatest impact on ancient Egypt was to bring back older, more established artistic styles in what modern scholars term archaism. In pictorial reliefs and especially in statuary, the Nubians were influenced by styles from Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdoms, but they added a couple of their own unique elements. Statues from the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, especially those of the rulers such as Taharqa, often depict the subject in a much more realistic or individual manner than the normally stylized and somewhat generic fashion that was typical of Egyptian statuary.

For instance, although Taharqa is shown wearing an Egyptian king's typical accouterments and clothed in traditional Egyptian garb, he is depicted as taller, more muscular, and with definite sub-Saharan African facial features. [18] dynasties after the Nubians continued the realistic style, eventually evolving to become true portraiture statuary.


The Nubians have been the Egyptians’ southern neighbors since the dawn of civilization over 5,000 years ago. During that time, the Egyptians were usually the dominant people, but the Nubians could impact pharaonic civilization in some ways. When the Egyptians were strong, especially during the New Kingdom, Nubia was a great wealth source for the Egyptians. The Egyptians established forts and colonies that exploited Nubia's rich mineral resources, which they then traded on the international market with other Near Eastern kingdoms.

Later, when the central government in Egypt collapsed, the Nubians conquered Egypt and brought back certain stability. The Nubians then involved themselves in the Near East's affairs, but that ultimately proved detrimental to Egypt. Finally, the Nubians brought back older artistic styles and conventions that gave new impetus to a culture that seemed exhausted of ideas.

Marital Inequality – “Tradition” And The Subjugation Of Women

Of all the questions, personal and social, with which I have grappled in my life, there is one that evinces the most visceral and dismissive scoff from a lot of people – conservatives and progressives alike.

I first asked it when I was too young to comprehend the response I got. Or so I have been told.

It was the first time I had watched the video of my parents’ wedding, heard the song – “babul ki duaen leti ja” (Dear Daughter, Take the blessings of your Father) play towards the end and seen my mom being escorted out of her maternal home by my grandfather and grandmother into the flower laden Fiat of my dad’s family. My natural impulse was to ask – “Why did you leave your home? Everyone is crying. They clearly don’t want you to” as my mom’s was to answer – “Because after marriage, women have to go live with their husband’s family.”

“But why?” I asked then and have been asking ever since.

Planning Weddings or Internalizing Subjugation?

This phenomenon of sending the daughter away to her “new home” is something we are all too familiar with, even in the 21 st century. No questions are asked. No assumptions are challenged. There is no discussion. Apparently, it is the way it is.

Why should my father and my family have to pay for the wedding? Why does the groom’s family get to impose their demands of dowry, expensive venues, gifts and the like on my family? Why are we, the women, the only ones required to leave our current living situations – our homes, our families, our livelihoods, our identities, even our names, in the name of matrimony?

One spends a lifetime in this maze of social norms called “our culture”, and internalizes its subjugation so well that it becomes a part of our identities and belief system, hardly ever questioning the premise of relevance of age-old rituals in today’s day.

Upholding “Tradition” or Stifling Debate?

I will be the first to admit that I am far from being a bystander in this debate. More so, it is hard to do so when you realize that eventually you are headed toward the same fate unless you are prepared to be ostracized from the society. Just mentioning the concept of “nuclear family” out loud can get you labelled as willful and “westernized” and disqualifies you as a good matrimonial match.

The harsh reality is that marriage in the context of Indian culture and society, is NOT a celebration of two people pledging their lives and welfares to each other on equal grounds. It has never been. I don’t need to cite thousands of studies and articles in support of my statement. The empirical evidence pervades our lives.

Heck, just watch a Bollywood movie, any movie, that has a wedding woven into its plot (there should be no dearth of those) and you will see clichés rife with gender inequality. The bride’s father laying his turban at the feet of the groom’s family symbolizing his supposed inferior status, the bride’s family borrowing and/or going broke with the wedding/dowry expenses, the bride wailing her heart out during the send-off ceremony, the bride requiring the “permission” of her in-laws and her husband to visit her own parents after the wedding. Again, I could go on. But it has already started to make my blood boil.

Now what’s interesting to me personally, is that we, as Indians, are so blatant about this inequality that we refuse to define it as such. We would rather bring out the big guns – the proverbial trifecta – Culture, Tradition and Religion, to justify the senselessness of this archaic practice than admit to its uselessness in the present day and age. In most cases, the debate is shut down even before it begins.

The Individual and Institutional Defenders of Misogyny

“What’s the alternative?” Some ask belligerently. “That a man should leave his home to live with his wife’s family?” Because apparently, nothing hurts a man’s ego more than being a ghar jamaayi.

Others reject the notion of nuclear family units as selfish and immoral. “Who is supposed to take care of ageing parents?” They demand with the self-serving ferocity that is so characteristic of patriarchs and misogynists. And the sad part is that the institutions of our country support them whole-heartedly.

The Supreme Court of India, the pinnacle of justice system in our country which is supposed to uphold the rights of ALL its citizens, and not just men, in a long history of clamping down on the rights of its female citizenry, recently granted divorce to a man on the grounds of his wife refusing to live with her in-laws.

In an article published by The Guardian, the freelance journalist, Vidhi Joshi, reports the language employed by Justice Anil R. Dave in his ruling. Justice Dave could have been repeating a dialogue straight out of a Bollywood movie when he argued: “In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage.”

This Judge of a supposedly “secular” and “democratic” country cited the “pious obligation” that Hindu men have to look after their parents. One could not have expected anything else from this Andha Kanoon, which refuses to criminalize other heinous crimes committed against women within their homes. Marital rape is still legal in India because apparently our society asserts that a wife’s body is her husband’s property. The patriarchs like the honorable Mr. Dave would rather subjugate half their country’s population in the name of cultural norms, archaic practices and religious scriptures, rather than open their eyes to the stark reality of the status of women in the Indian society.

India’s Eligible Yet Invisible Workforce

Some critics are happy to quote the education and employment statistics to score a point in this non-debate. They will assert that it is not a man’s fault that less women are in the workforce and most households depend on the income of a man. So, naturally, women have to follow wherever the man goes, not vice versa. But even this, does not make any sense.

The 2014 Gender Gap Index report published by World Economic Forum, clearly shows that for every 100 men enrolled in secondary education, there are 79 women enrolled as well. But, due to the deep gender bias entrenched in our society, female labor force participation is abysmal when compared to those of men. The ratio stands at 0.36 – quite appalling for “the fastest growing economy of the world.” Clearly, it’s not that women are not qualified for employment. But a huge majority either don’t get to join the workforce or have to leave it after marriage.

I am not so biased as to lay the blame squarely at the feet of men. Of course, that’s how patriarchal conditioning works. Most women, till today, have come to internalise that financial independence is not as important as marriage. And thus, the oppressed partakes in her oppression, meaning a complete win-win for the oppressive system to continue. This is far from shaming women who choose the home and the hearth over their work life, but this is about the ridiculous idea that the former is every woman’s work, while the latter is unimportant. And mind you, this is a worldwide phenomenon where even a woman like Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. While sharing her own personal struggle with traditional gender roles in society, in her widely-read book “Lean In” has to remind herself and other women that they are not bad mothers for continuing to pursue their personal journeys, dreams and careers, or for being too tired some evenings to help their children with homework, or for having to miss a school event on account of work.

If you, as a male reader, think this dismissive attitude towards female employment springs from a vacuum, then I urge you to think again to look inside your home, and talk to the women in your life. May be, they can shed some light on the issue for you! Women all over the world are deterred from pursuing meaningful and long-lasting careers in fear that financial subsistence will eventually breed independence of thought and action. Just as men are discouraged to share the responsibilities at home. The few who share the workload in and out of their homes with their partners are ridiculed for doing so.

The Long Overdue Revolution Must Begin At Home

This system of matrimonial inequality is inherently unfair to both partners. A man should not have to carry the full financial burden of a household just like a woman should not have to throw away her career and become the most qualified house-maid/cook/laundress on her block or street. Where is the sense in that? How are we supposed to leave the tag of a “developing” nation behind, if half of our population is over-worked and the other half is doomed to sulk at the kitchen sink.

You think about the problem of matrimonial inequality long enough and the hypocrisies of this sacred institution that we love to brag about come undone. It rather starts to appear what it is more like the vicious circle of subjugation and misogyny that it is and has forever been. Sure, it no longer requires a woman to be burnt at her husband’s funeral pyre as the ancient practice of Sati did, or requires a widow to be shunned from society as an embodiment of a bad omen (of course, they have to face a different type of ostracism now). Despite all the progress we have made over the last century, the gender scale is still leaning heavily on one side at the expense of the other, and will continue to do so, until we make it stop. One person. One family. One couple at a time.

Society 2.0

Son preference is rampant presumably because they will take care of their ageing parents, stay with them, provide for them while daughters will be hauled off to another family to cook, clean, bear and rear children, and earn only for the financial betterment of the other family.

In terms of lifetime value, a son is an investment for the future whereas a daughter is deemed a hefty cost to the family. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to do the math here. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of the fate of the girl child as paraaya dhan (someone else’s wealth) – a metaphor that I especially hate!

Again, some of you will proclaim that it is meant to honour the girl. I personally cannot get past the word: paraaya.

To those who say that it is immoral for a son to be required to leave his parents, I would like to ask, “Since when does living in the same house qualify you as an effective caregiver to a parent? Does the rest of the world, which does not live with their parents after marriage, stop caring for them? Both my brother and I moved out of India to study and work in our early twenties. Does that mean that we have stopped caring for our parents?”

Why can’t a couple take shared responsibility of parents – husband’s parents as well as the wife’s – as equal partners? Are a man’s parents more special and require the sole attention of their daughter-in-law just because they happened to conceive a son? That they somehow won a lottery because they have a son?

The fact of the matter is that the tide has been turning for half a century. Ideas disseminate. Ideas proliferate and people, men, women and the transgender community, begin to question the status quo. Thousands of young families are already migrating to the urban centres of India, in search of brighter future or financial prosperity. Some have been driven out by necessity. Whether the patriarchs like it or not, the word ‘family’ is no longer synonymous with “joint family” when our social fabric is viewed through the lens of modernity.

It’s about time we update our ceremonies, metaphors, Bollywood rhetoric and overall mindsets to reflect the reality on the ground!


The vast majority of Egyptian Christians are Copts. The word "Copt" is indirectly derived from the Greek Αἰγύπτιος Aigýptios meaning simply "Egyptian".

Over 92% of Egyptian Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, [1] [2] an Oriental Orthodox Church. The Coptic Church constitutes the largest Christian community in the Middle East and has approximately 10 million members, including a global diaspora of about 1 million. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] The Coptic Orthodox Church is headed by the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy See of Saint Mark, currently Pope Tawadros II. Affiliated sister churches are located in Armenia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, Lebanon and Syria.

Other native Egyptian Christians are adherents of the Coptic Catholic Church, the Coptic Evangelical Church and various Coptic Protestant denominations. Non-native Christian communities are largely found in the urban regions of Alexandria and Cairo, and are members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Latin Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Maronite Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, or the Syriac Orthodox Church. Scattered among the various churches are a number of believers in Christ from a Muslim background. A 2015 study estimates some 14,000 such believers in Egypt. [8]

In Egypt, Copts have relatively higher educational attainment, relatively higher wealth index, and a stronger representation in white collar job types, but limited representation in security agencies. The majority of demographic, socioeconomic and health indicators are similar among Copts and Muslims. [9]

Christian Denominations in Egypt by number of adherents Edit

Egyptian Christians believe that the Patriarchate of Alexandria was founded by Mark the Evangelist around AD 33, and Christianity entered Egypt because of The Apostle Mark.

By AD 300 it is clear [ why? ] that Alexandria was one of the great Christian centres. The Christian apologists Clement of Alexandria and Origen both lived part or all of their lives in that city, where they wrote, taught, and debated. [ citation needed ]

With the Edict of Milan in 313, Constantine I ended the persecution of Christians. Over the course of the 4th century, paganism was suppressed and lost its following, as the poet Palladas bitterly noted. Graffiti at Philae in Upper Egypt proves [ why? ] worship of Isis persisted at its temples into the 5th century.

Alexandria became the centre of the first great schism in the Christian world, between the Arians, named for the Alexandrian priest Arius, and their opponents [ who? ] , represented by Athanasius, who became Archbishop of Alexandria in 326 after the First Council of Nicaea rejected Arius's views. The Arian controversy caused years of riots and rebellions throughout most of the 4th century. In the course of one of these, the great temple of Serapis, the stronghold of paganism, was destroyed. Athanasius was alternately expelled from Alexandria and reinstated as its Archbishop between five and seven times. Another religious development in Egypt was the monasticism of the Desert Fathers, who renounced the material world in order to live a life of poverty in devotion to God. [ citation needed ]

Under Muslim rule, the ethnic Copts were cut off from the main stream of Christianity, and were compelled to adhere to the Pact of Umar covenant. They were assigned to Dhimmi status. Their position improved dramatically under the rule of Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century. He abolished the Jizya (a tax on non-Muslims) and allowed ethnic Copts to enroll in the army. Pope Cyril IV, 1854–61, reformed the church and encouraged broader Coptic participation in Egyptian affairs. Khedive Isma'il Pasha, in power 1863–79, further promoted the Copts. He appointed them judges to Egyptian courts and awarded them political rights and representation in government. They flourished in business affairs. [18]

Some ethnic Copts participated in the Egyptian national movement for independence and occupied many influential positions. Two significant cultural achievements include the founding of the Coptic Museum in 1910 and the Higher Institute of Coptic Studies in 1954. Some prominent Coptic thinkers from this period are Salama Moussa, Louis Awad and Secretary General of the Wafd Party Makram Ebeid.

In 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser led some army officers in a coup d'état against King Farouk, which overthrew the Kingdom of Egypt and established a republic. Nasser's mainstream policy was pan-Arab nationalism and socialism. The ethnic Copts were severely affected by Nasser's nationalization policies, though they represented about 10–20% of the population. [19] In addition, Nasser's pan-Arab policies undermined the Copts' strong attachment to and sense of identity about their Egyptian pre-Arab, and certainly non-Arab identity which resulted in permits to construct churches to be delayed along with Christian religious courts to be closed. [19]

Pharaonism Edit

Many Coptic intellectuals hold to "Pharaonism," which states that Coptic culture is largely derived from pre-Christian, Pharaonic culture, and is not indebted to Greece. It gives the Copts a claim to a deep heritage in Egyptian history and culture. Pharaonism was widely held by Coptic scholars in the early 20th century. Most scholars today see Pharaonism as a late development shaped primarily by western Orientalism, and doubt its validity. [20] [21]

Religious freedom in Egypt is hampered to varying degrees by discriminatory and restrictive government policies. Coptic Christians, being the largest religious minority in Egypt, are also negatively affected. Copts have faced increasing marginalization after the 1952 coup d'état led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. Until recently, Christians were required to obtain presidential approval for even minor repairs in churches. Although the law was eased in 2005 by handing down the authority of approval to the governors, Copts continue to face many obstacles and restrictions in building new churches. These restrictions do not apply for building mosques. [22] [23]

In 2006, one person attacked three churches in Alexandria, killing one person and injuring 5–16. [24] The attacker was not linked to any organisation and described as "psychologically disturbed" by the Ministry of Interior. [25] In May 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported increasing waves of mob attacks by Muslims against ethnic Copts. [26] Despite frantic calls for help, the police typically arrived after the violence was over. [26] The police also coerced the Copts to accept "reconciliation" with their attackers to avoid prosecuting them, with no Muslims convicted for any of the attacks. [27] In Marsa Matrouh, a Bedouin mob of 3,000 Muslims tried to attack the city's Coptic population, with 400 Copts having to barricade themselves in their church while the mob destroyed 18 homes, 23 shops and 16 cars. [26]

Members of U.S. Congress have expressed concern about "human trafficking" of Coptic women and girls who are victims of abductions, forced conversion to Islam, sexual exploitation and forced marriage to Muslim men. [28]

Boutros Boutros-Ghali is a Copt who served as Egypt's foreign minister under President Anwar Sadat. Today, only two Copts are on Egypt's governmental cabinet: Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali and Environment Minister Magued George. There is also currently one Coptic governor out of 25, that of the upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, and the first Coptic governor in a few decades. In addition, Naguib Sawiris, an extremely successful businessman and one of the world's 100 wealthiest people, is a Copt. In 2002, under the Mubarak government, Coptic Christmas (January 7) was recognized as an official holiday. [29] However, many Copts continue to complain of being minimally represented in law enforcement, state security and public office, and of being discriminated against in the workforce on the basis of their religion. [30] [31] Most Copts do not support independence or separation movement from other Egyptians. [32]

While freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution, according to Human Rights Watch, "Egyptians are able to convert to Islam generally without difficulty, but Muslims who convert to Christianity face difficulties in getting new identity papers and some have been arrested for allegedly forging such documents." [33] The Coptic community, however, takes pains to prevent conversions from Christianity to Islam due to the ease with which Christians can often become Muslim. [34] Public officials, being conservative themselves, intensify the complexity of the legal procedures required to recognize the religion change as required by law. Security agencies will sometimes claim that such conversions from Islam to Christianity (or occasionally vice versa) may stir social unrest, and thereby justify themselves in wrongfully detaining the subjects, insisting that they are simply taking steps to prevent likely social troubles from happening. [35] In 2007, a Cairo administrative court denied 45 citizens the right to obtain identity papers documenting their reversion to Christianity after converting to Islam. [36] However, in February 2008 the Supreme Administrative Court overturned the decision, allowing 12 citizens who had reverted to Christianity to re-list their religion on identity cards, [37] [38] but they will specify that they had adopted Islam for a brief period of time. [39]

In August 2013, following the 3 July 2013 Coup and clashes between the military and Morsi supporters, there were widespread attacks on Coptic churches and institutions in Egypt by Sunni Muslims. [40] [41] According to at least one Egyptian scholar (Samuel Tadros), the attacks are the worst violence against the Coptic Church since the 14th century. [42]

USA Today reported that "forty churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged". The Facebook page of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party was "rife with false accusations meant to foment hatred against Copts", according to journalist Kirsten Powers. The Party's page claimed that the Coptic Church had declared "war against Islam and Muslims" and that "The Pope of the Church is involved in the removal of the first elected Islamist president. The Pope of the Church alleges Islamic Sharia is backwards, stubborn, and reactionary." [42] [43] [44] On August 15, nine Egyptian human rights groups under the umbrella group "Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights", released a statement saying,

In December … Brotherhood leaders began fomenting anti-Christian sectarian incitement. The anti-Coptic incitement and threats continued unabated up to the demonstrations of June 30 and, with the removal of President Morsi … morphed into sectarian violence, which was sanctioned by … the continued anti-Coptic rhetoric heard from the group's leaders on the stage … throughout the sit-in. [42] [45]

On February 25, 2016 an Egyptian court convicted four Coptic Christian teenagers for contempt of Islam, after they appeared in a video mocking Muslim prayers. [46]


European Commissioner Franco Frattini said in November 2006, that he did not favour a ban on the burqa. [17] This is apparently the first official statement on the issue of prohibition of Islamic dress from the European Commission, the executive of the European Union.

Islamic dress is also seen as a symbol of the existence of parallel societies, and the failure of integration: in 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair described the face veil as a "mark of separation". [18] Proposals to ban hijab may be linked to other related cultural prohibitions, with Dutch politician Geert Wilders proposing a ban on hijab, on Islamic schools, the Quran, on new mosques, and on non-western immigration.

In France and Turkey, the emphasis is on the secular nature of the state, and the symbolic nature of the Islamic dress. In Turkey, bans previously applied at state institutions (courts, civil service) and in state-funded education, but were progressively lifted during the tenure of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In 2004, France passed a law banning "symbols or clothes through which students conspicuously display their religious affiliation" (including hijab) in public primary schools, middle schools, and secondary schools, [3] but this law does not concern universities (in French universities, applicable legislation grants students freedom of expression as long as public order is preserved [19] ). These bans also cover Islamic headscarves, which in some other countries are seen as less controversial, although law court staff in the Netherlands are also forbidden to wear Islamic headscarves on grounds of 'state neutrality'.

An apparently less politicised argument is that in specific professions (teaching), a ban on "veils" (niqab) may be justified on the grounds that being able to see facial expressions and making eye contact can be helpful in communicating. This argument has featured prominently in judgments in Britain and the Netherlands, after students or teachers were banned from wearing face-covering clothing. [ citation needed ]

Public and political response to such prohibition proposals is complex, since by definition they mean that the government decides on individual clothing. Some non-Muslims, who would not be affected by a ban, see it as an issue of civil liberties, as a slippery slope leading to further restrictions on private life. A public opinion poll in London showed that 75 percent of Londoners support "the right of all persons to dress in accordance with their religious beliefs". [20] In another poll in the United Kingdom by Ipsos MORI, 61 percent agreed that "Muslim women are segregating themselves" by wearing a veil, yet 77 percent thought they should have the right to wear it. [21] In a later FT-Harris poll conducted in 2010 after the French ban on face-covering went into effect, an overwhelming majority in Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK supported passing such bans in their own countries. [22] The headscarf is perceived to be a symbol of the clash of civilizations by many. Others would also argue that the increase of laws surrounding the banning of headscarves and other religious paraphernalia has led to an increase in not just the sales of headscarves and niqabs, but an increase in the current religiosity of the Muslim population in Europe: as both a product of and a reaction to westernization. [23]

According to a ruling by the European Court of Justice in a case involving two Belgian women, employers in the EU may restrict the wearing of religious symbols if such regulations on appearance are applied in a consistent manner. [24]

Austria Edit

In 2017, a legal ban on face-covering clothing was adopted by the Austrian parliament. [25] [26] Headscarves were also banned in 2019 from primary schools. [27] In 2019, Austria banned the hijab in schools for children up to ten years of age. The Austrian legislators said their motivation was promoting equality between men and women and improving social integration with respect to local customs. Parents who send their child to school with a headscarf will be fined 440 euro. [28]

Belgium Edit

As of 2015, Belgium has specific bans on face-covering dress, such as the niqab or burqa. On Tuesday 11 July 2017 the European Court of Human Rights upheld Belgium's ban on burqas and full-face veils. [29]

Bulgaria Edit

In 2016, a ban on the wearing of face-covering clothing in public was adopted by the Bulgarian parliament. [30] The Bulgarian parliament enacted the ban on the basis of security concerns, however the ban stimulated conflict as 10 percent of the country's population identifies as Muslim. Women who violate the burqa ban face fines up to €770 (

US$848) and have their social security benefits suspended. [31]

Denmark Edit

In autumn 2017, the Danish government considered adopting a law prohibiting people to wear "attire and clothing masking the face in such a way that it impairs recognizability". [32] The proposal was met with support from the three largest political parties [33] and was passed into law on 31 May 2018, becoming § 134 c of the Danish Penal Code, stating that "[a]ny person who in a public place wears a item of clothing that covers said person's face shall be liable to a fine" with an exception for coverings that serve "a creditable purpose" (e.g. sports equipment, protection against the cold, masks for carnivals, masquerades etc.). [34] [35] The law came into force on 1 August 2018. On the first day of the implementation of the burqa ban, hundreds of protesters rallied wearing face veils in public. According to the ban, wearing a burqa or a niqab in public can lead to a fine of 1000 kroner (

US$156) in case of first time offences, rising to 10,000 kr. (

US$1560) in case of the fourth offence. [36] [37] Under the ban, police are instructed to order women to remove their veils or to leave the public space. Police officers that fail to obey the orders of the ban are subject to be fined.

France Edit

France is a secular country. One of the key principles of the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State is the freedom of religious exercise. At the same time, this law prohibited public servants from wearing any religious signs during work.

In 1994, the French Ministry for Education sent out recommendations to teachers and headmasters to ban the Islamic veil (specified as hijab, niqab, and burka) in educational institutions. According to a 2019 study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics [38] , a higher proportion of girls of Muslim background born after 1980 graduated from high school, bringing their graduation rates closer to the non-Muslim female cohort. Having a "Muslim background" was defined as having an immigrant father from a predominantly Muslim country (hence, indigenized Muslims with a longer history in France were not considered), as the study was highlighting the "difficulties faced by adolescents with a foreign cultural background in forming their own identity". Males in the Muslim group also had a lower graduation rate than males in the non-Muslim group. While secularism is often criticized for restricting freedom of religion, the study concluded that for the French context, the "implementation of more restrictive policies in French public schools ended up promoting the educational empowerment of some of the most disadvantaged groups of female students". [39]

In 2004, the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools banned most religious signs, including the hijab, from public primary and secondary schools in France. The proposed ban was extremely controversial, with both sides of the political spectrum being split on the issue, some people arguing that the law goes against religious freedom and is racist because it affects mostly Muslim women and Jewish men.

In 2010, a ban on face covering, [40] targeting especially women wearing chador and burqa, was adopted by the French Parliament. According to the Guardian, the "Burqa ban", was challenged and taken to the European Court of Human Rights which upheld the law on 1 July 2014, accepting the argument of the French government that the law was based on "a certain idea of living together". [41] In 2013 "the applicant" stood outside Elysée Palace in niqab and subsequently received a criminal conviction. The French criminal courts noted in 2014 that the lower court was wrong to dismiss her rights covered under article 18 but dismissed her appeal. : 16 The French delegation argued that wearing face coverings violated the principle of "living together". Judges Angelika Nussberger and Helena Jäderblom dissented, calling the concept, "far-fetched and vague." : 61 Going on to note that the very decision of declaring what a woman is allowed to wear was hypocritical and antithetical to the aim of protecting human rights. [42] The committee came to the determination in 2018 that the case had been incorrectly dismissed after review by a single judge on the grounds that, "the conditions of admissibility laid down in articles 34 and 35 of the Convention [had] not been met." Upon review the committee concluded that the applicants's human rights had been violated under article 18 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. : 13 The committee dismissed the notion of "living together" as a vague notion not protected under international law. [43]

A broader ban on hijab is regularly proposed by conservative and right-wing politicians. [44] Such a broader ban would include a ban in public universities. However, presidents of universities and most student unions oppose such a ban. [45]

Germany Edit

In 2017, a ban on face-covering clothing for soldiers and state workers during work was approved by German parliament. [46]

Due to rapid demographic changes in Germany following immigration from Muslim countries, public debates ensued which among other topics concerned Islamic veils from the turn of the century onwards. [47]

In 2019 Susanne Schröter, an academic at Goethe University Frankfurt planned a conference titled "The Islamic veil – Symbol of dignity or oppression?" which led to a group of students protesting that value judgments on the veil should not be made. The protestors criticized the invitation of journalist Alice Schwarzer and publisher of feminist magazine EMMA. Schröter is a noted critic of Islamic veils and argues that the veil restricts a woman's freedom and usually comes with a bundle of restrictions. Schröter was backed by the president of Frankfurt University who stressed that it is her job to organize academic conferences where diverse opinions can be voiced. The president of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers [de] argued that freedom of speech meant that controversial topics should be resolved by debate, not "boycotts, mobbing or violence". Members of the Uni gegen antimuslimischen Rassismus (English: "University against anti-Muslim racism") boycotted the conference due to their objections regarding the invited participants. [47]

The Alternative for Germany are the largest party in Germany that advocates a ban on the burqa and niqab in public places.

Ireland Edit

In 2018, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar ruled out a burka ban in Ireland, saying "I don’t like it but I think people are entitled to wear what they want to wear. […] I believe in the freedom of religion. I don’t agree with the doctrine of every religion or necessarily any religion, but I do believe in the freedom of religion." [48] [49]

Kosovo Edit

Since 2009, the hijab has been banned in public schools and universities or government buildings. [50] In 2014, the first female parliamentarian with hijab was elected to the Kosovo parliament. [51]

Latvia Edit

In 2016 The Independent reported that a legal ban of face-covering Islamic clothing was adopted by the Latvian parliament. [13] After long public discussions draft legislation was approved by Latvian government on 22.08.2017, however it was never adopted by the parliament as a law. [52]

Malta Edit

Malta has no restrictions on Islamic dressing such as the veil (hijab) nor the full face veil (burqa or niqab) [53] but lawfully face covering is illegal, [54] however an official ban on face covering for religious reasons is ambiguous. [55] However it is guaranteed that individuals are allowed to wear as they wish at their private homes and at the Mosque. [54] Imam El Sadi, from Mariam Al-Batool Mosque, has said that the banning of the niqab and the burka "offends Muslim women". [56] El Sadi said that the Maltese's "attitude towards Muslim women" is positive and despite cultural clashes their dressing is tolerated. [57] Some Muslim women share the belief that it is sinful to be seen in public without veiling themselves, [58] [59] however they are lawfully required to remove it when needed – such as for photos on identifications. [60]

Netherlands Edit

The States General of the Netherlands enacted a ban on face-covering clothing, popularly described as the "burqa ban", in January 2012. [61] [62] The burqa ban came into force on 1 August 2019 in schools, public transport, hospitals and government buildings, but there are doubts over whether it will be applied in practice. [63] Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema spoke out in her opposition of the law. She stated that removing someone wearing a burqa from public transport in the capital would not be fitting with current Dutch society. Chairman of the Dutch Public Transport Association Pedro Peters also voiced his opinion on the ban. Peters said: "You are not going to stop the bus for half an hour for someone wearing a burqa", waiting for the police to arrive "we are also not allowed to refuse anyone because we have a transport obligation". [64] Known officially as the Partial Ban on Face-Covering Clothing Act, the act also details that those who refuse to uncover their faces may pay a fine of at least 150 euros and can be arrested. [64] Dutch police have also stated that enforcing the ban is not a priority, and that they likely would not respond to a complaint within a thirty-minute timeframe. [65]

The Dutch government has also come under fire for the "burqa ban" from certain members of the UN claiming it is discriminatory towards Muslim women. On 7 October 2019 Tendayi Achiume, The United Nations Special Rapporteur on racism, wrote a report questioning the perceived inclusivity of Dutch society and how that perception masks a reality of treating racial and ethnic minorities as foreign. Speaking about the "burqa ban" Achiume said "The political debate surrounding the adoption of this law makes plain its intended targeting of Muslim women, and even if this targeting was not the intent, it has certainly been the effect". [66] In her report Achiume also reference a whistleblower in the Hague police department. She said that this whisleblower raised concerns about a culture of racism and targeted discrimination within the police department, and the government must act quickly to combat it. [67]

Norway Edit

In 2018 the Norwegian parliament voted to ban the burqa in schools and universities. [68] [69]

In April 2019, the Telia telecom company received bomb threats after featuring a Muslim woman taking off her hijab in a commercial. Although the police did not evaluate the threat as likely to be carried out, delivering threats is still a crime in Norway. [70] [71]

Sweden Edit

In December 2019, the municipality of Skurup banned Islamic veils in educational institutions. Earlier, the municipality of Staffanstorp approved a similar ban. [72]

Switzerland Edit

In a referendum on 7 March 2021, Swiss voters approved a nationwide ban on the burqa, with over 51% of the electorate supporting it. [73]

Earlier, in September 2013, a constitutional referendum in the Canton of Ticino on a popular initiative banning full-face veils was approved with 66.2% of the vote. [74] In May 2017, the Landsgemeinde in the Canton of Glarus rejected adopting a similar measure with about two-thirds of the vote. [75]

In September 2018, the Canton of St Gallen become the second canton in Switzerland to vote in favor of a ban on facial coverings in public with two-thirds casting a ballot in favor. [76]

United Kingdom Edit

The UK has no specific legislation prohibiting any form of traditional Islamic dress. In some cases, hijabs are worn by young girls from age 6–8. [77] [78] According to retail chain Marks & Spencer, the hijabs they sell as part of the school uniform will fit a child aged 3. [79]

Algeria Edit

In 2018, the government passed a law banning the wearing of full face-veils, called burqas or niqabs, for women at work. [80] [81] The 2018 Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouahiya, pushed the ban because of his belief that women should be identifiable in the workspace. [82]

Afghanistan Edit

There is no legal hijab enforcement in Afghanistan, but it is predominantly worn largely due to cultural reasons. In the mid-20th century many women in urban areas did not wear head coverings, but this ended with the outbreak of civil war in the 1990s. [83] The Afghan chadri is a regional style of burqa with a mesh covering the eyes. [84] The burqa became a symbol of the conservative and totalitarian Taliban rule, who strictly enforced female adults to wear the dress. Although the Taliban regime ended in 2001, some women continue to wear it out of security concerns. [85] [86] [84] Opposers to the burqa claim it is not Islamic, nor part of Afghan culture. [87]

Egypt Edit

In 1953, Egyptian leader President Gamal Abdel Nasser was told by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood that they wanted to enforce the wearing of the hijab, to which Nasser responded: "Sir, I know you have a daughter in college – and she doesn't wear a headscarf or anything! Why don't you make her wear the headscarf? So you can't make one girl, your own daughter, wear it, and yet you want me to go and make ten million women wear it?".

The veil gradually disappeared in the following decades, so much so that by 1958 an article by the United Press (UP) stated that "the veil is unknown here." [88] However, the veil has been having a resurgence since the Iranian Revolution, concomitant with the global revival of Muslim piety. According to The New York Times, as of 2007 about 90 percent of Egyptian women currently wear a headscarf. [89]

Small numbers of women wear the niqab. The secular government does not encourage women to wear it, fearing it will present an Islamic extremist political opposition. In the country, it is negatively associated with Salafist political activism. [90] [91] There has been some restrictions on wearing the hijab by the government, which views hijab as a political symbol. In 2002, two presenters were excluded from a state run TV station for deciding to wear hijab on national television. [92] The American University in Cairo, Cairo University and Helwan University attempted to forbid entry to niqab wearers in 2004 and 2007. [93] [94] [95]

Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, issued a fatwa in October 2009 arguing that veiling of the face is not required under Islam. He had reportedly asked a student to take off her niqab when he spotted her in a classroom, and he told her that the niqab is a cultural tradition without Islamic importance. [90] Government bans on wearing the niqab on college campuses at the University of Cairo and during university exams in 2009 were overturned later. [96] [97] [98] [99] Minister Hany Mahfouz Helal met protests by some human rights and Islamist groups.

In 2010, Baher Ibrahim of The Guardian criticized the increasing trend for pre-pubescent girls in Egypt to wear the hijab. [100]

Many Egyptians in the elite are opposed to hijab, believing it harms secularism. By 2012 some businesses had established bans on veils, and Egyptian elites supported these bans. [101]

Indonesia Edit

In Indonesia, the term jilbab is used without exception to refer to the hijab. [102] Under Indonesian national and regional law, female head-covering is entirely optional and not obligatory.

In 2008, Indonesia had the single largest global population of Muslims. However, the Indonesian Constitution of Pancasila provides equal government protection for six state-sanctioned religions (namely Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism), without any one supreme or official state religion.

Some women may choose to wear a headscarf to be more "formal" or "religious", such as the jilbab or kerudung (a native tailored veil with a small, stiff visor). Such formal or cultural Muslim events may include official governmental events, funerals, circumcision (sunatan) ceremonies or weddings. However, wearing Islamic attire to Christian relatives' funerals and weddings and entering the church is quite uncommon.

Culturally to the Javanese majority, plain, Saudi-style hijab, the niqab or socially worse yet the indigenous peasant kerudung (known in North Sumatran languages as tudung) is considered vulgar, low-class and a faux pas – the traditional Javanese hijab are transparent, sheer, intricately brocaded or embroidered fine silk or lace tailored to match either their sarung or kebaya blouse.

Young girls may also elect to wear the hijab publicly to avoid unwanted low-class male attention and molestation and thus display their respectability as "good Muslim girls": that is, they are not "easy" conquests. [103] Additionally, Islamic private school uniform code dictate that female students must wear the jilbab (commonly white or blue-grey, Indonesia's national secondary school colours), in addition to long-sleeved blouse and ankle-length skirt. Islamic schools must by law provide access to Christians (and vice versa Catholic and Protestant schools allow Muslim students) and it is to be worn by Christian students who attend Muslim school, and its use by Muslim students is not objected to in Christian schools.

Many nuns refer to their habit as a jilbab, perhaps out of the colloquial use of the term to refer to any religious head covering.

The sole exception where jilbab is mandatory is in Aceh Province, under Islamic Sharia-based Law No 18/2001, granting Aceh special autonomy and through its own Regional Legislative body Regulation Nr. 5/2001, as enacted per Acehnese plebiscite (in favour). This Acehnese Hukum Syariah and the reputedly over-bearing "Morality Police" who enforce its (Aceh-only) mandatory public wearing are the subject of fierce debate, especially with regard to its validity vis-a-vis the Constitution among Acehnese male and female Muslim academics, Acehnese male and female politicians and female rights advocates.

Female police officers are not allowed to wear hijab, except in Aceh. But since 25 March 2015, based on Surat Keputusan Kapolri Nomor:Kep/245/II/2015 female police officers can now wear hijab if they want. Flight attendants are not allowed to wear hijab except during flights to the Middle East.

Compounding the friction and often anger toward baju Arab (Arab clothes), is the ongoing physical and emotional abuse of Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia, as guest workers, commonly maids or as Hajja pilgrims and Saudi Wahhabi intolerance for non-Saudi dress code has given rise to mass protests and fierce Indonesian debate up to the highest levels of government about boycotting Saudi Arabia – especially the profitable all Hajj pilgrimage – as many high-status women have been physically assaulted by Saudi morality police for non-conforming head-wear or even applying lip-balm – leading some to comment on the post-pan Arabist repressiveness of certain Arab nations due to excessively rigid, narrow and erroneous interpretation of Sharia law. [104] [105]

Iran Edit

In Iran, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the hijab has become compulsory. Women are required to wear loose-fitting clothing and a headscarf in public. [106] [107]

This partially changed in the Middle Ages after the arrival of the Turkic nomadic tribes from Central Asia, whose women didn't wear headscarves. [108] [109] However, after the Safavid centralization in the 16th century, the headscarf became defined as the standard head dress for women in urban areas all around the Iranian Empire. [110] Exceptions to this were seen only in the villages and among nomadic tribes, [108] [109] [111] [112] [113] such as Qashqai. Covering the whole face was rare among the Iranians and was mostly restricted to local Arabs and local Afghans. Later, during the economic crisis in the late 19th century under the Qajar dynasty, the poorest urban women could not afford headscarves. [111] [114] In the early 20th century, Iranians associated not covering the hair as something rural, nomadic, poor and non-Iranian.

On 8 January 1936, [115] Reza Shah issued a decree, banning all veils. [116] [107] [117] [118] [119] Many types of traditional men’s clothing was also banned, in order that "westerners shouldn’t laugh." The ban humiliated and alienated many Iranian women. [120] [121] [122] [123] To enforce this decree, police were ordered to physically remove the veil off of any woman who wore it in public. Women were beaten, their headscarves and chadors torn off, and their homes forcibly searched. [123] [107] [117] [124] [125] Until Reza Shah's abdication in 1941, many women simply chose not leave their houses in order to avoid such embarrassing confrontations, and some even committed suicide. [116] [112] [120] [121] [122]

Official measures were relaxed under Reza Shah's successor, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the wearing of a headscarf or chador was no longer an offence, but was still considered an indicator of backwardness or of membership of the lower class. [123] Discrimination against women wearing the headscarf or chador was still widespread with public institutions actively discouraging their use, and some eating establishments refusing to admit women who wore them. [116] [126]

In the aftermath of the revolution, hijab was made compulsory in stages. [107] In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini announced that women should observe Islamic dress code, his statement sparked demonstrations which were met by government assurances that the statement was only a recommendation. [107] [127] Hijab was subsequently made mandatory in government and public offices in 1980, and in 1983 it became mandatory for all women (including non-Muslims and non-citizens). [107]

White Wednesday Edit

In May 2017, My Stealthy Freedom, an Iranian online movement advocating for women's freedom of choice, created the White Wednesday movement: a campaign that invites men and women to wear white veils, scarves or bracelets to show their opposition to the mandatory forced veiling code. [128] The movement was geared towards women who proudly wear their veils, but reject the idea that all women in Iran should be subject to forced veiling. [129] Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-born journalist and activist based in the United Kingdom and the United States, created the movement to protest Iran's mandatory hijab rule. [130] She described her 2017 movement via Facebook, saying, "This campaign is addressed to women who willingly wear the veil, but who remain opposed to the idea of imposing it on others. Many veiled women in Iran also find the compulsory imposition of the veil to be an insult. By taking videos of themselves wearing white, these women can also show their disagreement with compulsion." [130] The campaign resulted in Iranian women posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing pieces of white clothing to social media. [128]

Compulsory female veiling Edit

On 27 December 2017, 31-year-old Vida Movahed, also known as "The Girl of Enghelab Street" was arrested for being unveiled in public after a video of the woman went viral on social media. [131] [132] The video showed Movahed silently waving her hijab, a white headscarf that she had removed from her head and placed on a stick for one hour on Enqelab Street, Tehran. [133] [131] At first it was assumed that her act was connected to the widespread protests taking place in Iran, but Movahed confirmed that she performed the act in support of the 2017 White Wednesday campaign. [134] Vida's arrest sparked outrage from social media, where many Iranians shared footage of her protest along with the hashtag "#Where_Is_She?". On 28 January 2018, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a renowned human rights lawyer, posted on Facebook that Vida had been released. [135] It was not until a few weeks later that Sotoudeh revealed the girl's identity. [136] In the following weeks, multiple people re-enacted Vida's public display of removing their hijabs and waving them in the air. [131] On 1 February 2018, the Iranian police released a statement saying that they had arrested 29 people, mostly women, for removing their headscarves, contrary to Iranian law. [131] [137] One woman, Shima Babaei, was arrested after removing her headdress in front of a court as a symbol of her continued dedication to the cause.

On 23 February 2018, Iranian Police released an official statement saying that any women found protesting Iran's compulsory veiling code would be charged with "inciting corruption and prostitution," which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. [138] Before this change, according to article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, "Anyone in public places and roads who openly commits a harām (sinful) act, in addition to the punishment provided for the act, shall be sentenced to two months imprisonment or up to 74 lashes and if they commit an act that is not punishable but violates public prudency, they shall only be sentenced ten days to two months' imprisonment or up to 74 lashes. Note- Women who appear in public places and roads without wearing an Islamic hijab, shall be sentenced ten days to two months' imprisonment or a fine of five hundred to fifty thousand rials." [139]

Following the announcement, multiple women reported being subjected to physical abuse by police following their arrests. [138] Some have since been sentenced to multiple years in prison for their acts of defiance. [140] In one video, a woman stands on top of a tall box, unveiled, waving her white scarf at passers by. The video then shows a man in a police uniform tackling the woman to the ground. [141] Shortly after the video went viral, the Ministry of Interior (Iran) scolded police for using physical force against the woman. Salman Samani, a spokesman for Ministry released a statement on 25 February 2018 saying "No one has a license to act against the law even in the role of an officer dealing with crimes." [141]

On 8 March 2018, a video of three Iranian women singing a feminist fight song in Tehran's subway went viral on. [142] The women were singing in honor of International Women's Day and to highlight women's continued challenges caused by forced veiling and other discriminatory laws against women. [142] In the video, in which three bare-headed Iranian women sing I am a Woman, calls upon women to join efforts to fight injustice and create "another world" of "equality". The women hold hands, display pictures of a previous women's rights protest, and ask the other women on the subway train to clap in honor of "having lived and fought all their lives against all kinds of discrimination, violence, humiliation, and insults." At the end of the video, one of the protestors is heard saying "Happy Women's Day to all of you." [142]

That same day, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, made a speech during a gathering of religious poets in Tehran, posting a series of tweets in response to the series of peaceful hijab protests. [143] Khamenei defended the dress code, praising Islam for keeping women "modest" and in their "defined roles" such as educators and mothers. He also lashed out at the Western World for, in his view, leading its own women astray. [144] "The features of today’s Iranian woman include modesty, chastity, eminence, protecting herself from abuse by men," Khamenei tweeted. He claimed that the most sought after characteristic of a Western woman involve is her ability to physically attract men. [145]

Iraq Edit

The Iraqi sociologist Ali Al-Wardi mentioned that women in Iraq were not used to wearing the Hijab, the Hijab wasn't common before the 1930's, the Hijab was only widespread among the wives of Ottoman employees and clerics during the Ottoman period. [146]

In south Iraq, particularly in the Shi'a holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, custom requires women to wear hijab. Women in public places usually wear abaya which is a long black cloth that covers the whole body except the face and the hands, in addition to the scarf that only covers the hair. They might wear boushiya. In private, in governmental institutions and universities they can wear manteaux which could be long or short with a scarf covering the head. In Arab Sunni majority provinces of East Iraq hijab/heads is not mandatory. In Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, women are free to choose whether or not to wear the hijab.

In 2017, the Iraqi army imposed a burqa ban in the liberated areas of Mosul for the month of Ramadan. Police stated that the temporary ban was for security measures, so that ISIS bombers could not disguise themselves as women. [147]

Jordan Edit

There are no laws requiring the wearing of headscarves nor any banning such from any public institution. The use of the headscarf increased during the 1980s. However, the use of the headscarf is generally prevalent among the lower and lower middle classes. Veils covering the face as well as the chador are rare. It is widely believed that the hijab is increasingly becoming more of a fashion statement in Jordan than a religious one with Jordanian women wearing colorful, stylish headscarves along with western-style clothing. [148]

Malaysia Edit

The headscarf is known as a tudung, which simply means "cover". (The word is used with that meaning in other contexts, e.g. tudung saji, a dish cover for food.) Muslim women may freely choose whether or not to wear the headscarf. The exception is when visiting a mosque, where the tudung must be worn this requirement also includes non-Muslims.

Although headscarves are permitted in government institutions, public servants are prohibited from wearing the full-facial veil or niqab. A judgment from the then–Supreme Court of Malaysia in 1994 cites that the niqab, or purdah, "has nothing to do with (a woman's) constitutional right to profess and practise her Muslim religion", because Islam does not make it obligatory to cover the face. [149]

Although wearing the hijab, or tudung, is not mandatory for women in Malaysia, some government buildings enforce within their premises a dress code which bans women, Muslim and non-Muslim, from entering while wearing "revealing clothes". [150] [151]

As of 2013 the vast majority of Muslim Malaysian (mostly ethnic Malay) women wear the tudung, a type of hijab. This use of the tudung was uncommon prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution, [152] and the places that had women in tudung tended to be rural areas. The usage of the tudung sharply increased after the 1970s, [151] as religious conservatism among Malay people in both Malaysia and Singapore increased. [153]

Several members of the Kelantan ulama in the 1960s believed the hijab was not mandatory. [152] By 2015 the Malaysian ulama believed this previous 'fatwa' was un-Islamic. [154]

By 2015 Malaysia had a fashion industry related to the tudung. [152]

Maldives Edit

There are no official laws in the Constitution of the Maldives that require women to cover their heads, but Maldivian women commonly wear a hijab and niqab in public. There are reports of women being pressured into covering themselves by close relatives [155] conversely, the American U.S. State Department's annual International Religious Freedom Report in 2007 referenced one instance in which a female student was restricted from attending school for wearing a headscarf, despite civil servants wearing them at work without issue. [156] [157]

Morocco Edit

In Morocco, the headscarf is not forbidden by law, and women are free to choose to wear one. The headscarf is more frequent in the northern regions, small to medium cities and rural regions. As it is not totally widespread, wearing a hijab is considered rather a religious decision. In 2005, a schoolbook for basic religious education was heavily criticized for picturing female children with headscarves, and later the picture of the little girl with the Islamic headscarf was removed from the school books. [158] The headscarf is strongly and implicitly forbidden in Morocco's military and the police.

In January 2017 Morocco banned the manufacturing, marketing and sale of the burqa. [159]

Pakistan Edit

Pakistan has no laws banning or enforcing the ħijāb.

In Pakistan, most women wear shalwar kameez, a tunic top and baggy or skintight trouser set which covers their legs and body. Depending on the societal status and city, a loose dupatta scarf is worn around the shoulders and upper chest or just on the shoulder, or isn't used at all. Women are not expected to wear a hijab or scarf in public, [160] [161] but many women in Pakistan wear different forms of the ħijāb and it varies for rural and different urban areas. For example, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas a minority of the women wear the full head-to-toe black burqa/chador while in the rest of the provinces, including Azad Kashmir, most of the women wear the dupatta (a long scarf that matches the woman's garments).

Westerners are also expected to dress modestly. Pakistani society observes traditional dress customs and it is advisable for women to wear long trousers which cover all of the legs, and tops with sleeves which don't show cleavage. Baring a midriff in a sari is more accepted than baring legs of any length. In the big cities, some teenage girls wear jeans underneath tunics, especially in casual settings, shopping malls and around picnic spots. Dress codes for men are more lax, though shorts, t-shirts, vest tops, and speedos are uncommon. For women, swimsuits and midi-and mini-skirts are considered immodest and are thus a social taboo. [160] [161]

Saudi Arabia Edit

While most versions of Islamic law suggests that women should dress modestly, Saudi Arabian dress code used to legally require women, local and foreign, to wear an abaya, a garment that covers the body and arms in public. [162] [163] According to most Salafi scholars, a woman is to cover her entire body, including her face and hands, in front of unrelated men. Hence, the vast majority of traditional Saudi women are expected to cover their body and hair in public. [164] [165] [166] [167] [168]

The Saudi niqāb usually leaves a long open slot for the eyes the slot is held together by a string or narrow strip of cloth. [169]

According to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, women are not required to cover their heads or wear the abaya, provided their clothing is "decent and respectful." [170]

Somalia Edit

During regular, day-to-day activities, Somali women usually wear the guntiino, a long stretch of cloth tied over the shoulder and draped around the waist. In more formal settings such as weddings or religious celebrations like Eid, women wear the dirac, which is a long, light, diaphanous voile dress made of cotton or polyester that is worn over a full-length half-slip and a brassiere. Married women tend to sport head-scarves referred to as shash, and also often cover their upper body with a shawl known as garbasaar. Unmarried or young women, however, wear hijab, and the jiilbab is also commonly worn. [171]

Sudan Edit

While the hijab is not explicitly mandated by law, Sudanese women are required to dress modestly in public. Due to Sudan's vaguely worded Public Order law, there are no delineated parameters of what constitutes immodest dress. The law states: "Whoever does in a public place an indecent act or an act contrary to public morals or wears an obscene outfit or contrary to public morals or causing an annoyance to public feelings shall be punished with flogging which may not exceed forty lashes or with fine or with both". [172] In 2013, the case of Amira Osman Hamid came to international attention when she chose to expose her hair in public, in opposition to the nation's public-order laws. [173]

Syria Edit

In 2010, Ghiyath Barakat, Syria's minister of higher education, announced a ban on women wearing full-face veils at universities. The official stated that the face veils ran counter to secular and academic principles of Syria. [174] However, the ban strictly addresses veils that cover the head and mouth, and does not include hijabs, or headscarfs, which most Syrian women wear. [175]

Tajikistan Edit

In 2017, the government of Tajikistan passed a law requiring people to "stick to traditional national clothes and culture", which has been widely seen as an attempt to prevent women from wearing Islamic clothing, in particular the style of headscarf wrapped under the chin, in contrast to the traditional Tajik headscarf tied behind the head. [176]

Tunisia Edit

Tunisian authorities say they are encouraging women, instead, to "wear modest dress in line with Tunisian traditions", i.e. no headscarf. In 1981, women with headscarves were banned from schools and government buildings, and since then those who insist on wearing them face losing their jobs. [6] Recently in 2006, the authorities launched a campaign against the hijab, banning it in some public places, where police would stop women on the streets and ask them to remove it, and warn them not to wear it again. The government described the headscarf as a sectarian form of dress which came uninvited to the country. [177]

As of 14 January 2011, after the Tunisian revolution took place, [178] the headscarf was authorized and the ban lifted. However, in contemporary urban Tunisian society, remnants of decades worth of discouragement remain.

On 6 July 2019 the government banned the wearing of the niqab in public institutions citing security reasons. [179]

Turkey Edit

Turkey is officially a secular state, and the hijab was banned in universities and public buildings until late 2013 this included libraries or government buildings. The ban was first in place during the 1980 military coup, but the law was strengthened in 1997. There has been some unofficial relaxation of the ban under governments led by the conservative AKP party in recent years: [91] for example, the current government of the AKP is willing to lift the ban in universities. However, the new law was upheld by the constitutional court. [ needs update ]

Some researchers [ who? ] claim that about 55–60% of Turkish women cover their heads. A number of women wear a headscarf for cultural reasons that cultural headscarf is used by women that work under the sun to protect their heads from sunburn. [180] In cities like Istanbul and Ankara about a half of women cover their heads. [181] In the cities in eastern Turkey, more women cover their heads . [182] [183] [184]

On 7 February 2008, the Turkish Parliament passed an amendment to the constitution, allowing women to wear the headscarf in Turkish universities, arguing that many women would not seek an education if they could not wear the hijab. [185] [186] [187] The decision was met with powerful opposition and protests from secularists. On 5 June 2008, the Constitutional Court of Turkey reinstated the ban on constitutional grounds relating to the secularity of the state. [188] Headscarves had become a focal point of the conflict between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the secularist establishment. The ruling was widely seen as a victory for Turks who claim this maintains Turkey's separation of state and religion. In 2013, the headscarf ban in public institutions was lifted through a decree, even though the ban officially stands through court decisions. [189] The ban on wearing hijab in high schools ended in 2014. [8]

Yemen Edit

Although there is no dress code that legally forces veiling upon women in Yemen, the abaya and niqab are social norms in Yemen and are worn by girls from a young age. In some areas, the hijab is part of school uniforms. Yemeni women who choose to not wear headscarves are at risk of oppression. [190]

When Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman was asked by journalists about her hijab with regard to her intellect and education, she replied, "man in early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient times." [191]

Israel Edit

In July 2010, some Israeli lawmakers and women's rights activists proposed a bill to the Knesset banning face-covering veils. According to the Jerusalem Post, the measure is generally "regarded as highly unlikely to become law." Chana Kehat, founder of the Jewish women's rights group Kolech, criticized a ban and also commented "[f]ashion also often oppresses women with norms which lead to anorexia." Eilat Maoz, general coordinator for the Coalition of Women for Peace, referred to a ban as "a joke" that would constitute "racism". [192] In Israel, orthodox Jews dress modestly by keeping most of their skin covered. Married women cover their hair, most commonly in the form of a scarf, also in the form of hats, snoods, berets, or, sometimes, wigs. [193] [194]

Gaza Strip Edit

Successful informal coercion of women by sectors of society to wear Islamic dress or hijab has been reported in the Gaza Strip where Mujama' al-Islami, the predecessor of Hamas, reportedly used a mixture of consent and coercion to "'restore' hijab" on urban-educated women in Gaza in the late 1970s and 1980s. [195] Similar behavior was displayed by Hamas during the First Intifada. [196] Hamas campaigned for the wearing of the hijab alongside other measures, including insisting that women stay at home, they should be segregated from men, and for the promotion of polygamy. During the course of this campaign women who chose not to wear the hijab were verbally and physically harassed, with the result that the hijab was being worn "just to avoid problems on the streets". [197]

Following the takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Hamas has attempted to implement Islamic law in the Gaza Strip, mainly at schools, institutions and courts by imposing the Islamic dress or hijab on women. [198]

Some of the Islamization efforts met resistance. When Palestinian Supreme Court Justice Abdel Raouf Al-Halabi ordered women lawyers to wear headscarves and caftans in court, attorneys contacted satellite television stations including Al-Arabiya to protest, causing Hamas's Justice Ministry to cancel the directive. [199]

In 2007, the Islamic group Swords of Truth threatened to behead female TV broadcasters if they didn't wear the hijab. "We will cut throats, and from vein to vein, if needed to protect the spirit and moral of this nation," their statement said. The group also accused the women broadcasters of being "without any . shame or morals". Personal threats against female broadcasters were also sent to the women's mobile phones, though it was not clear if these threats were from the same group. Gazan anchorwomen interviewed by Associated Press said that they were frightened by the Swords of Truth statement. [200]

In February 2011, Hamas banned the styling of women's hair, continuing its policy of enforcing Sharia upon women's clothing. [201]

Hamas has imposed analogous restrictions on men as well as women. For example, men are no longer allowed to be shirtless in public. [201]

Northern Cyprus Edit

Muslim Turkish-Cypriot women wore traditional Islamic headscarves. [202] When leaving their homes, Muslim Cypriot women would cover their faces by pulling a corner of the headscarf across their nose and mouth, a custom recorded as early as 1769. [203]

Their head dress. consists of a collection of various handkerchiefs of muslim, prettily shaped, so that they form a kind of casque of a palm's height, with a pendant behind to the end of which they attach another handkerchief folded in a triangle, and allowed to hang on their shoulders. When they go out of doors modesty requires that they should take a corner and pull it in front to cover the chin, mouth and nose. The greater part of the hair remains under the ornaments mentioned above, except on the forehead where it is divided into two locks, which are led along the temples to the ears, and the ends are allowed to hang loose behind over the shoulders.

In accordance with the islands' strict moral code, Turkish Cypriot women also wore long skirts or pantaloons in order to cover the soles of their feet. Most men covered their heads with either a headscarf (similar to a wrapped keffiyeh, "a form of turban" [204] ) or a fez. Turbans have been worn by Cypriot men since ancient times and were recorded by Herodotus, during the Persian rule of the island, to demonstrate their "oriental" customs compared to Greeks. [205]

Following the globalisation of the island, however, many younger Sunni Muslim Turkish-Cypriots abandoned wearing traditional dress, such as headscarves. [206] Yet they are still worn by older Muslim Cypriot women.

Until the removal of ban on headscarf in universities in Turkey in 2008, [207] women from Turkey moved to study in Northern Cyprus since many universities there did not apply any ban on headscarf. [208] Whilst many Turkish Cypriot women no longer wear headscarves, recent immigrants from Turkey, settled in villages in northern Cyprus, do. [209]

The word "hijab" was used only for the middle-eastern style of hijab, and such style of hijab was not commonly worn by Muslims there until the fall of the Soviet Union. Some Islamic adherents (like Uzbeks) used to wear the paranja, while others (Chechens, Kara-Chai, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Turkmens, etc.) wore traditional scarves the same way as a bandanna and have own traditional styles of headgear which are not called by the word hijab.

Cameroon Edit

On 12 July 2015, two women dressed in religious garments blew themselves up in Fotokol, killing 13 people. Following the attacks, since 16 July, Cameroon banned the wearing of full-face veils, including the burqa, in the Far North region. Governor Midjiyawa Bakari of the mainly Muslim region said the measure was to prevent further attacks. [210]

Chad Edit

Following a double suicide bombing on 15 June 2015 which killed 33 people in N'Djamena, the Chadian government announced on 17 June 2015 the banning of the wearing of the burqa in its territory for security reasons. [211] The 2015 Prime Minister, Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet, called the burqa "camouflage." [212] Women who violate this ban are subject to jail time. [213]

Congo-Brazzaville Edit

The full-face veil was banned in May 2015 in public places in Congo-Brazzaville to "counter terrorism", although there has not been an Islamist attack in the country. [210]

Gabon Edit

On 15 July 2015, Gabon announced a ban on the wearing of full-face veils in public and places of work. The mainly Christian country said it was prompted to do so because of the attacks in Cameroon. [210]

Australia Edit

In September 2011, Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, passed the Identification Legislation Amendment Act 2011 to require a person to remove a face covering if asked by a state official. The law is viewed as a response to a court case of 2011 where a woman in Sydney was convicted of falsely claiming that a traffic policeman had tried to remove her niqab. [214]

The debate in Australia is more about when and where face coverings may legitimately be restricted. [215] In a Western Australian case in July 2010, a woman sought to give evidence in court wearing a niqab. The request was refused on the basis that the jury needs to see the face of the person giving evidence. [215]

China Edit

In 2017, China banned the burqa in the Islamic area of Xinjiang. [216]

Myanmar Edit

At a conference in Yangon held by the Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion on 21 June 2015, a group of monks locally called Ma Ba Tha declared that the headscarves "were not in line with school discipline", recommending the Burmese government to ban the wearing of hijabs by Muslim schoolgirls and to ban the butchering of animals on the Eid holiday. [217]

Sri Lanka Edit

A Sri Lankan MP called for both burqa and niqab to be banned from the country in wake of the Easter terror attack which happened on 21 April 2019 during a local parliamentary session. [218] [219] [220]

The Sri Lankan government banned all types of clothing covering the face, including the burqa and niqab, on 29 April 2019. [221]

India Edit

In April 2019, Shiv Sena party member Sanjay Raut called for the burka to be banned. [222] [223]

In February 2020, Uttar Pradesh’s labor minister Raghuraj Singh has called for an outright ban on women wearing burqas, suggesting that terrorists have been using them to elude authorities. [224]

Canada Edit

On 12 December 2011, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration issued a decree banning the niqab or any other face-covering garments for women swearing their oath of citizenship the hijab was not affected. [225] This edict was later overturned by a Court of Appeal on the grounds of being unlawful.

Mohamed Elmasry, a controversial former president of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), has stated that only a small minority of Muslim Canadian women actually wear these types of clothing. He has also said that women should be free to choose, as a matter of culture and not religion, whether they wear it. [226] The CIC criticized a proposed law that would have required all voters to show their faces before being allowed to cast ballots. The group described the idea as unnecessary, arguing that it would only promote discrimination against Muslims and provide "political mileage among Islamophobes". [227]

In February 2007, soccer player Asmahan Mansour, part of the team Nepean U12 Hotspurs, was expelled from a Quebec tournament for wearing her headscarf. Quebec soccer referees also ejected an 11-year-old Ottawa girl while she was watching a match, which generated a public controversy. [228]

In November 2013, a bill commonly referred to as the Quebec Charter of Values was introduced in the National Assembly of Quebec by the Parti Québécois that would ban overt religious symbols in the Quebec public service. Thus would include universities, hospitals, and public or publicly funded schools and daycares. [229] Criticism of this decision came from The Globe and Mail newspaper, saying that such clothing, as worn by "2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman", was "Good enough for Nobel, but not for Quebec". [230] In 2014 however, the ruling Parti Québécois was defeated by the Liberal Party of Quebec and no legislation was enacted regarding religious symbols.

In October 2017, Bill 62, a Quebec ban on face covering, made headlines. As of July 2018 [update] , the ban has been suspended by at least two judges for violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was first suspended in December 2017. [231] [232] [233]

With regards to public opinion, a 27 October 2017 Ipsos poll found that 76% of Quebecers backed Bill 62, with 24% opposing it. The same survey found the 68% of Canadians in general supported a law similar to Bill 62 in their part of Canada. [234] A 27 October Angus Reid Institute poll found that 70% Canadians outside of Quebec supported "legislation similar to Bill 62" where they lived in the country, with 30% opposing it. [235]

As of June 2019, wearing religious symbols is prohibited for certain public servants in positions of authority in Québec: police, judges and teachers.

People such as Tarek Fatah [236] [237] [238] and Ensaf Haidar [239] have called on the burka to be banned.

Mexico Edit

There is no ban on any Muslim clothing items. The first article of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States protects people against discrimination based on several matters including religion, ethnic origin and national origin. [240] Article 6 of the Constitution grants Libertad de Expresión (freedom of expression) to all Mexicans which includes the way people choose to dress. [240]

The Muslim community is a minority according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life there were about 3,700 Muslims in Mexico as of 2010, representing 0.003 percent of the total population. [241] There is an almost complete lack of knowledge of Islam in Mexico, [ citation needed ] and any interest is more out of curiosity and tolerance than hatred or racism. [242] Some Muslims suggest that it is easier to fit in if they are lax with the rules of their religion, for example by wearing regular clothing. [243] Muslim women's clothing can vary from non-Muslim clothing to a hijab or a chador.

United States Edit

The majority of Muslim women in the United States wear hijab at least some of the time. [244] Contrary to popular theories about assimilation, this number is actually higher among native-born Muslim women compared to first-generation Muslim immigrants. [245]

The people of the United States have a firm First Amendment protection of freedom of speech from government interference that explicitly includes clothing items, as described by Supreme Court cases such as Tinker v. Des Moines. [246] As such, a ban on Islamic clothing is considered presumptively invalid by U.S. socio-political commentators such as Mona Charen of National Review. [247] Journalist Howard LaFranchi of The Christian Science Monitor has referred to "the traditional American respect for different cultural communities and religions under the broad umbrella of universal freedoms" as forbidding the banning of Islamic dress. In his prominent June 2009 speech to the Muslim World in Cairo, President Barack Obama called on the West "to avoid dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear" and elaborated that such rules involve "hostility" towards Muslims in "the pretense of liberalism". [248]

Most gyms, fitness clubs, and other workout facilities in the United States are mixed-sex, so exercise without a hijab or burqa can be difficult for some observant Muslim women. Maria Omar, director of media relations for the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), has advised Muslim women to avoid these complexes entirely. Some women decide to wear something colloquially known as the "sports hijab". Similarly, Muslim women may feel uncomfortable around other women with traditionally revealing American outfits, especially during the summer "bikini season". An outfit colloquially known as the burqini allows Muslim women to swim without displaying any significant amount of skin. [249]

Compared to Western Europe, there have been relatively few controversies surrounding the hijab in everyday life, a product of "pro-religious freedom" laws allowing for a wide range of religious accommodations, and also due to greater support for multiculturalism. One exception is the case of Sultaana Freeman, a Florida woman who had her driver's license cancelled due to her wearing of the niqab in her identification photo. She sued the state of Florida for religious discrimination, though her case was eventually thrown out.

In January 2017, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division in Camden County dismissed two suits filed by Linda Tisby in summer 2015 against her former employer, the county's Department of Corrections. The court decided that a New Jersey Superior Court was right to rule that it would have been an "undue hardship" for the agency to accommodate her religious beliefs "because of overriding safety concerns, the potential for concealment of contraband, and the importance of uniform neutrality". [250]

Bent Pyramid of Dahshur

The slope of the Bent Pyramid of Dahshur changes roughly two thirds of the way up. Image source

Unique amongst the ancient Egyptian pyramids is the aptly-named Bent Pyramid of Dahshur, the slope of which changes roughly two thirds of the way up. The lower part of the pyramid is angled inward at roughly 54 degrees, then at 49 metres above the base it flattens out abruptly to 43 degrees, creating a distinctively bent shape.

There are several theories as to why the pyramid was built in this way. Some say that the original angle was found to be unsustainable once construction had already begun, while others have suggested that the premature death of the pharaoh required an earlier completion than planned.

More People Were Literate in Ancient Judah Than We Knew

When was the Hebrew Bible written? That question has long been the subject of heated debate, largely because of the fragmentary nature of the historical record. Piecing together the ancient history of the Hebrew-speaking peoples revolves around a limited number of inscriptions and physical artifacts, along with written accounts from neighboring civilizations. Of course, there are also the Biblical texts themselves, but the oldest of these, found among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, date back only to the 3rd century BCE.

Now, a cross-disciplinary team of nine Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University has taken a fresh look at a collection of inscriptions from circa 600 BCE, and—with the help of a machine-learning computer algorithm—has concluded that literacy was already on the rise in the ancient Kingdom of Judah (a.k.a. Judea) in the years prior to the Babylonian conquest in 587 BCE. And that, they argue, points to an “educational infrastructure” that would have made the writing of the Biblical texts possible. Their study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The computer program studied the inscriptions from 16 pottery fragments recovered at Arad, a remote desert fortress about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom. The analysis of the handwriting showed that at least six different writers penned the inscriptions, which contain instructions for the movements of troops and the distribution of supplies, including wine, oil, and flour. They’re addressed to someone named “Eliashib,” believed to have been the quartermaster of the fortress, and to his assistant.

“Until now, there was no conclusive empirical evidence about levels of literacy [in Judah],” Arie Shaus, a Ph.D. student in applied mathematics at Tel Aviv University and one of the lead authors of the study, tells mental_floss. Now there’s “very good evidence that hundreds of people, maybe more, could read and write.”

What's unclear, though, is whether reading and writing was restricted to a small group of elites—say, a handful of priests and scribes, perhaps in Jerusalem—or was more widespread. Shaus suggests it was quite common in the military. “We can now say that writing is everywhere, from the upper echelons of the Judahite army, down to the level of vice-quartermaster of some remote, isolated fort,” he says.

A chart depicting the hierarchy of the correspondents in the Arad inscriptions. Image credit: Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin et al. in PNAS

While many previous studies have attempted to date the various Biblical texts directly, this study turns the problem on its head, Shaus explains: “Instead of asking when were the texts written, you ask when would it have been possible for such texts to have been written.”

Christopher Rollston, an expert on ancient Semitic languages and literature at George Washington University, describes the technique used in the study as “very promising.”

“Determining the number of writers is really useful,” he tells mental_floss. Rollston, who was not involved in the current study, notes that scholars have long attempted such estimates, using various “analogue” methods, but this study provides an “empirical foundation.”

Rollston cautions, however, against assuming that the general population of Judah could read and write. “Literacy in ancient Israel and Judah was probably 15 or 20 percent of the population, at most,” he says.

According to the Bible, a unified Hebrew-speaking kingdom flourished under King David and his son, Solomon historians estimate that their reigns spanned roughly 1000 to 920 BCE, when the kingdom was divided into Israel, in the north, and Judah, in the south. The northern kingdom eventually fell to the Assyrians, the southern kingdom to the Babylonians. Although Hebrew inscriptions dating back to the 10th century BCE have been found, the dates associated with the Biblical texts have always been the subject of debate. The Book of Deuteronomy, for example, is a complex work unlikely to have been composed until literacy was fairly widespread, historians believe.

This research “emphasizes the political and military infrastructure that allows for the spread of writing literacy across different social classes,” William Schniedewind, an expert on Biblical studies and Semitic languages at UCLA, tells mental_floss. “That’s the important thing here—it’s not just that you have writing it’s that you have it across a variety of social classes, so that it can be socially significant.” Schniedewind says that the Tel Aviv study supports the thesis of his book How the Bible Became a Book, published in 2004.

The Second and Fourth Levels

The following two images form the next couple. They can be paired by their torques too: slanting lines in opposite directions (which is difficult to see in the photos). Besides this, they are comparable because of the small figures - just look at the sleeping figure over their left shoulder. The female plate depicts the second level/chakra, which concerns passive processing.

There is a connection to feelings here, like wanting to ‘get on the same wavelength’ as another person (e.g. to sympathize or fall in love). In the body, this level is where your intestines process food. It is also connected to the water element. Over her right shoulder we see how the mind either struggles with or caresses a star-dotted animal ( spiritual powers ) - wishing to get acquainted with this new world. Over the left shoulder a figure is passively sleeping, regenerating.

The female second chakra plate (left) and the male fourth chakra plate (right). (Author provided)

The male plate actually belongs to the fourth level/chakra (we’ll see number three in a moment). In the body, we are at the level of the heart. This fourth level is connected to the element air, communication, and thoughts (complementary to feelings). This is why the little sleeping figure over the left shoulder is characterized by an even smaller figure: a horseman, expressing dreams a way of communicating. Even when you are asleep, your mind rides out and visits strange places. The figure over his active right shoulder looks like he is talking or explaining something.

Journey Among the Symbols of the Ancient

Egyptian mythology includes an infinite number of great stories to discover plus you can explore these memorable Egyptian symbols by booking unforgettable Egypt tour packages or enjoying one of the incredible Nile cruises to observe the majestic temples of Egyptian pharaohs and witness the myths of gods and goddess.

Duration : 7 Days / 6 Nights