Clark B. Lombardi and Nathan J. Brown, The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt on Islamic Law, Veiling and Civil Rights: An Annotated Translation of Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Case No. 8 of Judicial Year 17, 21 AM. U. INT'l L. REV. 437 (2006), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/717
Islam, Islamic Law, International Law, Human Rights, Constitutional Law, Women's Rights, Children's Rights, Comparative Constitutional Law
The jurisprudence of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt is creative and influential in the Arab world. Among its opinions, Case No. 8 of Judicial Year 17, decided on May 18, 1996, is particularly interesting. In this opinion, the SCC argues that a regulation on face-veiling in public schools is consistent not only with Islamic law, but with the Egyptian Constitution's guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Not only does it illustrate the SCC's approach to Islamic legal reasoning, but it gives insight into the Court's views with respect to civil and political rights. The case also provides intriguing opportunities for comparative legal scholars. Regulations restricting women's right to veil have been challenged as unconstitutional in many countries. This should thus be of great interest to scholars of comparative law, comparative constitutionalism and international human rights. We provide here an annotated translation of this SCC opinion. We thus hope to facilitate comparative discussion about, inter alia, free exercise of religion, freedom of expression, women's rights, and children's rights.