Morocco, Beacon of Moderate Islam, Bans Burka

Alicia WestJan 14, 2017

Morocco has banned the sale, production and import of the burka, according to local reports.

Unnamed government officials disclosed that the move necessitated for security reasons, saying that criminals have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes. But most women in this North African country wear the hijab, or headscarf, which does not cover the face, reported Al Jazeera.

Letters announcing the ban were sent out on Monday, giving businesses 48 hours to get rid of their stock, the reports stated.

The burqa' - which totally covers a woman leaving her eyes only showing - has been gaining grounds in most Muslim communities globally.

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

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

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".

Lawmaker Nouzha Skalli, a former family and social development minister, finds the ban to be "an important step in the fight against religious extremism".

In 2011, France, with its large Muslim population, was the first nation to ban women from wearing face-covering veils in public, followed by Belgium three months later.

Meanwhile, media reports elsewhere suggest the burqa is "alien" to Moroccan culture, with women traditionally wearing a djellaba. It also has not yet published an official statement on the specifics of the ban, and it is unclear what kind of religious full-body veils have been specifically targeted.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco recently signalled that he favours moderate versions of Islam and said jihadis were heretics. Saida Drissi, chairman of the Democratic Association of the Women of Morocco slams the critics of the ban asking how they can call it an attack on freedom when forcing women to wear the full burqa was itself an attack on the freedom of women.

Hammad Kabbadj, a preacher whose candidacy for parliamentary election was rejected because of his alleged extremist views, also denounced the ban.

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