Court revokes women's veil ban in Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisia - A Tunisian administrative court has cancelled a 1986 law banning women from wearing the Islamic veil, it emerged Thursday.

Women had not been allowed to wear the veil at work places and at schools because it was considered a "sectarian outfit" and a mark of political and religious extremism.

The head of the legally-banned Horriya wa Insfaf (Freedom and Justice) Association, Mohammed al-Nouri, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the court had also cancelled the education minister's earlier decision to suspend a schoolteacher "for wearing clothes indicating fanaticism, the veil."

The minister took his decision based on the 1986 law number 102, al-Nouri added.

However, the schoolteacher, who refused to take off the veil, filed a lawsuit against the Education Ministry and won.

The court considered the law "an interference in ... personal freedoms," which threatens the freedom of belief the constitution stipulates.

Meanwhile, some secular intellectuals have expressed their concerns over the court order regarding it as an indication of the authorities' acceptance of the veil phenomenon spreading among Tunisian women.