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It is a phenomenon that has become startlingly visible over the past year in Cairo. Along the city's crowded sidewalks, on university campuses and in offices, young Egyptian women who once wore the latest in Western fashion are turning to Islamic dress. Many of them cover their heads with either a long scarf or a knitted "helmet" that descends from the head to the shoulders. Others shield the entire face, leaving only two eye openings in the veil. Despite temperatures that commonly range up to 95° F, the women wear gloves and stockings.

Males could increasingly be seen in flowing robes called...

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