CAIRO — In what was called a first for Egyptian state television, a woman wearing a head scarf presented headlines in a newscast on Sunday, breaking with a code of secular dress that for decades effectively barred the wearing of Islamic head coverings.
The anchor, Fatma Nabil, wearing a dark suit coat and an off-white hijab that covered her hair and neck, presented headlines at noon on Channel 1, one of several television stations operated by the state.
A vast majority of Egyptian women choose to wear some form of Islamic head covering. By Sunday evening, however, an online debate had broken out over whether Ms. Nabil’s appearance might be one step in an effort by President Mohamed Morsi, a former leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, to encourage a more Islamic sensibility on Egyptian newscasts and in society.
Veiled women have been presenting the news for years on private satellite television here, including Ms. Nabil, who previously worked for the Brotherhood’s satellite station, Misr 25. Her appearance on Channel 1 was announced Saturday by the newly appointed information minister, Salah Abdel-Maqsoud, a Brotherhood member, who told an interviewer that Ms. Nabil’s wearing of the hijab would represent the “enforcement of the principle of justice in the field of media,” in the spirit of the Egyptian revolution, according to MENA, the official state news agency.
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|Egyptian TV Anchor|