For illustrative purposes only. France's Kenza Drider, dressed in a niqab, speaks with reporters during a press conference in Montreuil, east of Paris, on Tuesday. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: A top Egyptian court Monday upheld a ban on the full face veil or the niqab at a major state university, legal sources said.

In 2015, the then president of Cairo University banned female teaching staff at the institution from wearing the niqab on the campus, saying the garb hampers direct communications between them and their students.

Dozens of female lecturers challenged the legality of the ban at the court, arguing that their attire is a matter of personal freedom and a right enshrined in the constitution.

On Monday, Egypt’s High Administrative Court turned down the appeals against the ban in an irreversible verdict, the sources added.

While the law regulating work at universities does not commit teachers to wearing a certain uniform, it obliges them to maintain direct communication with students in lectures and other academic activities, the court explained.

No other academic institution in Egypt has followed Cairo University in enforcing the niqab ban.

Under influence of Islamism in recent years, the majority of Egypt’s Muslim women appear in public putting the Islamic headgear or the full face veil.

Moderate Muslim clerics consider the niqab non-mandatory in Islam.