An Egyptian actress who retired for religious reasons and began wearing a hijab, has recently announced her comeback on social media.

Hala Shiha, who starred in films such as El-Selem We El-Teaban (The Ladder and the Snake) and Aris Min Geha Amneya (A Groom From a Security Body), retired in 2005 aged 26.

She created a Twitter account on Thursday, gaining thousands of followers in the first few hours, describing herself online as "an Egyptian actress, shone again," and tweeting she was a "strong independent woman from the beginning".

Shiha shared photos of herself without the veil on her Instagram page, which was also created on Thursday.

Since her first post - which simply read "Back" - she has gained more than 38,000 followers in her first day on the picture-sharing platform.

Shiha's return to social media has prompted many to comment about religious dress.

The Arabic hashtag of her name "Hala Shiha" has been trending in Egypt, attracting more than 12,000 tweets, with very mixed reaction.

Many praised the actress, including one woman, Nada Ashraf, who congratulated her for "returning back to life" and "being resurrected from the caves of darkness and the Middle Ages".

However, some users including @menna521990121 feel Shiha is now distancing herself from God.

In defence of Shiha, London-based media student Mohamed Magdeldin advised people not to judge the actress.

Mekameleen TV presenter Osama Gawish, also based in London, agreed the removal of the veil was a personal matter.

However, he warned those who saw it as a sign of stepping out of "the caves of darkness" or "a slap on the face of the Muslim Brotherhood" were actually expressing "a hateful racism against all veiled women".