On Thursday, Algerian authorities banned women working in the public sector from wearing niqabs, otherwise known as face veils.

Ahmed Ouahiya, the country's prime minister, publicized the decision in a letter to other ministers and regional governors, explaining the importance of identification in the workplace.

"Women are obliged to respect the rules and requirements of security and communication which is at the level of their interests," Ouahiya said.

The letter also stated that all other clothes that "prevent women from carrying their public duties" are also banned.

The decision was not welcomed by other MPs in the country. Islamist MP Masoud Amrawi said the new law is "a declared war on Islam," according to AawsatAlgeria's population stands at 98.2 percent Muslim. 

However, the announcement prompted a discussion in Egypt, as one MP suggested the country follows in the footsteps of Algeria. 

In a proposal shared on Saturday, MP Ghada Agamy, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives, said the Egyptian government "should prevent women from wearing full-face veils in government workplaces," according to Egypt Independent. 

Algeria's decision sparked a discussion on Twitter, drawing polarized reactions from several individuals. Some denounced the decision, calling it a restriction on people's freedom of choice. Others praised the decision calling it a step forward for the country. 

"Niqab isn't very common in Algeria ... so why ban it?"

"At what point do we stop policing women and their outfits?"

Not everyone is against the decision though

"As an Algerian, I believe we are [becoming] a more secure country"

"This decision is awesome"

Over the years, Algerian women have been challenging conservative Islamic traditions - which oftentimes depict what attire is deemed socially acceptable for women in the country. 

In 2017, thousands of Algerian women joined an online campaign to challenge this narrative by donning bikinis to a beach. This came in response to conservatives who criticized two-piece swimsuits.

"The aim isn't to make a lot of noise or even less to make headlines, it's to change society profoundly but gently," Sara, the woman behind the Facebook campaign, said.

"This can be achieved only if people grow accustomed to seeing what they still consider to be forbidden. We don't want to change their vision of things, just to instill in them tolerance and acceptance of others."

Many European countries have banned the niqab in recent years

In 2017, Austria followed in the footsteps of France, Belgium, and many other European countries by enforcing a burqa ban, prohibiting Muslim women from wearing the outer garment used to cover themselves.

Austria's decision to ban the burqa is part of a wider plan to "integrate migrants," which requires them to sign up for classes to learn the German language.

The new legislation not only banned the face veil worn by Muslim women, but all face coverings, with a few exceptions.

The President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, opposed the law, saying "it is every woman’s right to always dress how she wants."