Importing, manufacturing and selling of burqas is being banned across Morocco, according to local media reports .
Le360 quote a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior as saying “We have taken measures to completely ban the import, manufacture and marketing of the burqa in all the cities and towns of the kingdom”.
However it is unclear if it will become illegal to wear the veil, which although originated from Afghanistan, is worn across the Islamic world.
In Taroudant, a Berber town in the south-western Souss region, a letter signed by the local Pacha (city official) has been delivered to traders, instructing them to get rid of their current stock of burqas. If they do not abide by the order by the end of the week, their stock will be seized.
A similar order was given in Casablanca, Morocco’s economic capital, where a government official visited traders and manufacturers to inform them of the new rules.
Moroccan women who wear the veil largely prefer the hijab, which covers only the hair.
Among the Salafists, a conservative denomination of Islam, and in the more conservative north of the country, the niqab, which shows only the eyes, is most popular.
Faced with the banning of the burqa, Salafist circles have already made their feelings clear. “This decision is a first step towards the banning of the niqab” one Salafist told AFP. “It will provoke a split within the country”, they continued.
“It is unacceptable (…) to interfere with the sale of the burqa”, the controversial Islamist preacher Kabbadj Hammad of the Party of Justice and Development told the online journal Yabiladi. “It is wrong to think that the veil is a radical” he continued.
Authorities have justified the measure by saying the burqa is a security threat, according to Moroccan media. “Radicals use the burqa to perpetrate terrorist attacks” explains Al Yaoum24.