Morocco, a majority-Muslim country, has banned the sale and production of burqas (full-body veils), according to local media reports.
Vendors and merchants have reportedly been informed by the representatives of the Interior Ministry on Monday to stop selling or manufacturing the garment due to security reasons.
“Obviously the government’s interest is first and foremost security rather than women’s rights,” commented Stephanie Willman Bordat, the co-founder of Morocco-based Mobilizing for Rights Associates, as quoted by The New York Times. “It’s unsurprising given the current security context and the concern the government has with maintaining security and stability and cracking down on terrorists’ networks.”
A 48-hour deadline was given to the sellers and producers, but it was uncertain when the rule would formally apply.
Even though acts of extremism are infrequent in Morocco due to the influence of Western secularist ideals, it has since been attempting to enforce more subtle expressions of Islam by warning Islamists not to go overboard.
Very few Moroccan women wear the burqa as it is more prominent in conservative Muslim societies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nonetheless, many Moroccan women still choose to wear traditional dresses and head scarves.
Applying the rule to people who sell and produce burqas will arguably reduce the risk of a public outcry, such as the one that happened in France last summer after the burkini, a full-body swimsuit, was banned by the government.
News site Le360 quoted an unidentified official from the Moroccan Interior Ministry who confirmed that the sale of burqas was banned. However, the official did not say whether the ban would apply to wearing it. The ministry itself has not yet published any official statement mentioning the details of the ban.