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Introduction so much energy has been expended by Muslim men and then Muslim women to remove the veil and by others to affirm or restore it Ahmed 167 This paper explores these efforts in two specific stages the first and the last thirds of the twentieth century Through an analysis of some of the various arguments on the veil I will try to induce some general characteristics of the debate on the issue and on women during these two specific periods of time The starting point will be Kasim Amins Tahrir el Maraa Liberation of Woman and the counter argument of Talat Harbs Tarbiet el Maraa wal Hijab Educating Women and the Veil The debate between those two protagonists which has become a prototype of the debate on the veil throughout the century Ahmed P 164 Malak Hefni Nassifs and Hoda Shaarawis attitudes towards the veil represent an interesting insight to two different interpretations of the hijab issue by feminist activists that prevail throughout the century The whole synthesis of this early debate is then put in juxtaposition to the debate later in the century as represented by the avalanche of literature on the topic in the seventies the views of some famous sheikhs like Mohammed Metwally el Shaarawi and others and the heated debate initiated by the Minister of Educations decree of 1994 to prevent school administrations from imposing the hijab on girls as part of the uniform The Early Debate Kasim Amins Tahrir El-Maraa Published 1899 It may not be an exaggeration to say that Amins Tahrir al-Maraa was one of the most controversial book in Egypts modern history It has ignited a strong debate and prompted more than thirty reaction articles and books either to defy or assert his argument against the veil Ahmed P 164 The
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