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EgyptAir cabin crew allowed to wear hijab

Islamic headscarves will be optional, says airline spokesman.

CAIRO // EgyptAir is allowing its cabin crew to wear headscarves on flights to Arab states and will expand the practice to the rest of the network, ending a restriction imposed in Hosni Mubarak's era.

It follows a similar move to allow state television's flagship news presenters to wear the hijab, which covers the hair but not the face.

Although many Egyptian Muslim women wear the scarf, Mubarak's administration had sought to restrict its use in places that were seen as the public face of Egypt.

The new president, Mohammed Morsi, and his administration have repeatedly said they would not impose strict Islamic codes of behaviour, but more secular Egyptians and many Christians worry about the creeping implementation of social restrictions.

EgyptAir is designing a hijab to be worn with its uniform and this will be finalised before expanding the new practice to services beyond the Arab world, said the carrier's deputy chairman, Abdel Aziz Fadel.

The airline began by letting its staff wear headscarves on trips to Jeddah and Medina, cities in Saudi Arabia used by pilgrims to Islamic holy sites, and have now expanded it to other Arab states.

Mr Fadel said the hijab would not affect the work of stewardesses and would be optional attire.

Headscarves are worn by cabin crew on some other airlines of Muslim nations.

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