Morocco has reportedly banned the sale of burqas due to security concerns.
Written warnings were issued by representatives of the country's Interior Ministry to producers and retailers of veils that cover the entire face that stated it was their obligation to cease making or selling the garments, Morocco World News reports. They were also told to dispose of any existing burqa stock within 48 hours, or their goods could be confiscated.
A picture of the notice, sent by a person using the pseudonym El Basha, reportedly a representative of the Interior Ministry, is circulating on social media. It states: “Following the observations of the authorities, we notice that you sell burqas - so, we are calling on you to get rid of the products of this outfit within 48 hours and to refrain from selling it in the future.”
A senior official at the Ministry of Interior said the burqa, which is worn by some Muslim women, has been banned in the country.
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“We have taken measures to completely ban the import, manufacture and marketing of this garment in all cities and towns in the kingdom,” the official told Le360, as translated by Morocco World News.
The ban has been established due to reports that criminals have been using burqas to carry out their crimes, according to the Daily Mail.
The notices to stop manufacturing or selling burqas were issued in Casablanca, Taroudant and Ouislane.
Hammad Kabbaj, a preacher who was not allowed to stand in parliamentary elections in October 2016 because of his alleged ties to extremism, finds the ban to be "unacceptable."
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In response, he mocked the “Morocco of freedom and human rights” which “considers the wearing of the Western swimsuit on the beaches an untouchable right.”
Lawmaker Nouzha Skalli, a former family and social development minister, finds the ban to be “an important step in the fight against religious extremism.”
With the burqa ban, Morocco joins European nations with similar laws in effect.
The Netherlands does not allow the burqa on public transport, or in government buildings, schools or hospitals, according to the Express. France and Belgium do not allow wearing a burqa or niqab in public places. Women who defy the ban may be fined and imprisoned.
Other countries that also prohibit the wearing of the burqa or niqab in certain circumstances include Bulgaria, Switzerland, the Lombardy area of Italy and Chad. Legislation to ban the niqab and burqa in public places and government institutions has been drafted in Egypt.
A burqa covers the face, and hangs loosely over the head and shoulders, while a niqab covers the face but not the eyes.