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Morocco 'preparing to introduce burqa ban'

Morocco 'preparing to introduce burqa ban'

Moroccan authorities have warned tailors and vendors of niqab and burqa to cease manufacturing and selling the full veil garment for security reasons, local media said.

The North African country's interior ministry is said to be cracking down on burqas due to reports that terrorists have been wearing them when carrying out attacks.

It said the measure appeared to be motivated by security concerns, "since bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes". According to Morocco World reports, the notice reads that shopkeepers are required to get rid of their burqa stock within 48 hours, or they would be confiscated. Muslim women in Morocco have only been wearing the hijab without covering their faces. On the other hand, Al Jazeera reported that Nouzha Skalli, a former family and social development minister, welcomed the ban as "an important step in the fight against religious extremism".

The burqa is already unwelcome in many European countries, as well as some Muslim-majority countries in Western Africa, citing security concerns.

Moroccan news site Le360 quoted a senior interior ministry official announcing the ban on the sale of the burqa, which is often blue and fully covers the head.

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Public reaction to the ban is described as "muted in the absence of official confirmation" by France24, with the loudest complaints coming from Salafist Muslims who worry that slightly-less-concealing niqabs might be banned next.

And another outlet claimed that in commercial districts of Casablanca, the country's economic capital, interior ministry officials carried out "awareness-raising campaigns with traders to inform them of this new decision". However, only a few Muslim women do actually don the full veil. So far, no formal rule has been there forcing women to wear the full veil.

Hammad Kabbadj, a conservative preacher and member of the Justice and Development Party who was not allowed to run in last fall's legislative elections in which his party prevailed because he was deemed too "extremist", denounced the ban on his Facebook page.

The official did not confirm whether the ban extended to wearing the burqa.


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