Bad omen: Egyptian newscaster wears hijab on air for the first time in decades

A vast majority of Egyptian women choose to wear some form of Islamic head covering. By Sunday evening, however, an online debate had broken out over whether Ms. Nabil’s appearance might be one step in an effort by President Mohamed Morsi, a former leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, to encourage a more Islamic sensibility on Egyptian newscasts and in society.

Veiled women have been presenting the news for years on private satellite television here, including Ms. Nabil, who previously worked for the Brotherhood’s satellite station, Misr 25. Her appearance on Channel 1 was announced Saturday by the newly appointed information minister, Salah Abdel-Maqsoud, a Brotherhood member, who told an interviewer that Ms. Nabil’s wearing of the hijab would represent the “enforcement of the principle of justice in the field of media,” in the spirit of the Egyptian revolution, according to MENA, the official state news agency.

At least three other veiled women will soon be appearing on state television, including a weather presenter, Mr. Abdel-Maqsoud said, a shift from the standards established when state television was founded five decades ago.