Morocco has outlawed the production and sale of the full-face Muslim veil known as the burqa, the ban comes despite Islam’s status as Morocco’s official religion.
Unnamed government officials disclosed that the move necessitated for security reasons, saying that criminals have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes.
Other reports say the country’s Interior Ministry sent a circular to manufacturers, instructing them to get rid of their burqa stock or convert it within 48 hours, failure for which they risk confiscation of all goods.
The new measure has however been contested against by Salafist leaders of the country who expressed misgivings that the ban will be a first step towards the prohibition of the wearing of the hijab and the niqab.
Muslims make up the majority of the Moroccan population. Most of them follow a moderate form of Islam, with women mainly wearing the hijab, which does not obscure the face, rather than burqas or niqabs.
The burqa’ – which totally covers a woman leaving her eyes only showing – has been gaining grounds in most Muslim communities globally. Some scholars have forbidden wearing it on the grounds that it is not Islamic in origin, and because it is used improperly.
Morocco is at the forefront of radicalism and the fight against terrorism in the north Africa region following an attack in 2003 in the capital Cassablanca. The attack killed over 40 people.