The wife of Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has officially appeared in public for the first time, sitting next to her husband during a military ceremony in Cairo on Monday, with his supporters finally able to dismiss claims that she wore a more conservative Muslim outfit.
A video of the ceremony – held to honor military veterans – was posted on the army spokesman’s Facebook page.
Seeing her wearing the Islamic head covering known as the hijab, and silently sitting next to her strongman husband; Egyptians on social media soon reacted to her first appearance.
With some users of social networking site Twitter hailing her already as “Egypt’s First Lady,” or proclaiming that “behind every great man there is a woman,” others said that the pictures serve to dismiss commonly-held claims that she was a “niqabi” (a woman who wears the niqab, a face-covering veil worn by some highly-conservative Muslim women).
“Truly, she is not niqabi. Now we need to find out who said she was niqabi and verify their agendas,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another Twitter used wrote: “They say the marshal’s wife wore niqab, she is far from one, she is not even wearing an abaya.”
An abaya is the loose-fitting black over-garment commonly worn by Muslim women in the Middle East.
‘A respectable woman’
“The Marshal’s wife is a respectable woman given the way she dresses and her hijab,” one Twitter user wrote.
The army chief’s sister, Muna al-Sisi, told Egypt’s Eshahed website in an interview published on Monday that his wife “never wore the niqab,” or took it off after a popular uprising backed by the military toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 30.
“The Marshal’s family is a moderate Muslim one,” she said, adding that the army chief’s wife started wearing the hijab when studying at college.
“The biggest indicator is that his daughter didn’t wear a hijab until now. He left it as a choice for her.”
After Morsi’s ouster, Sisi has risen from a little-known defense minister to Egypt’s most prolific political figure.
While the army chief has not officially declared running for presidency, many Egyptians are calling him to stand as a candidate in upcoming elections.
His recent official visit to Moscow wearing a civilian suit was seen as a sign that he harbors more than military ambitions.
Source: Al Arabiya News