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September 9, 2003

Eygpt Today

Last month, the Cairo Opera House issued a warning to members of its a cappella chorus, informing them that wearing hijab in concerts violates dress code. Anyone who insists on wearing it during performances will be banned. Amid the chorus of shrieks and condemnations visited upon the head of the Opera House, some have risen to his defense. Hamada Hussein, a noted journalist with Rose El-Youssef magazine, is chief among them.

"They have the right to wear the veil, but they don't have the right to sing with it on," Hussein says. "How can an opera singer stand on stage, wearing historical costume to participate in the opera Aida, for example, while wearing the veil? We don't condemn the Opera House for trampling someone's personal rights and freedoms by requiring a formal dress code for anyone who wants to watch an opera, do we? No, we respect it as part of the Opera House's tradition. We expect those who work there to show the same respect. They should know better: Every job has its requirements, and every place its traditions.

"More than 80 percent of the Opera's chorus is veiled, but they take it off during concerts," Hussein continues, "replacing it with a wig. Nothing justifies them trying to show up for work in a veil. And now we're hearing about a singer who resigned because she's against the singing of a cappella material. Do we really want to open that door?"

Posted by acapnews at September 9, 2003 10:11 AM


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