Sellers Ordered to Stop Selling Burqas in Morocco

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.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), there was no official announcement by authorities in the North African nation, only reports saying the interior ministry order would take effect this week. The reason cited is security concerns over the unquestioned anonymity permitted by the garment to criminals to carry out their activities.

In Morocco, niqab, an integral veil that reveals only the eyes, is worn by certain women, especially in Salafist circles in conservative regions in the north of the country and small towns. However, Media 24 reports that the Ministry of Interior has sent notices to businesses in various cities across the country to inform them of the new decision.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco recently signalled that he favours moderate versions of Islam and said jihadis were heretics.

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In a communiqué published on its official website on Thursday, the extreme-right FN says, "After the closure of 80 radical mosques in Tunisia, following the bombing in Sousse, Morocco now has shown firmness in the fight against Islamism by prohibiting the import, sale and manufacture of Burqas in its territory".

Relatively few Moroccan women wear the burqa, which is more associated with Afghan and Pakistani culture, with the hijab headscarf being far commoner in the former French protectorate where Muslims are comparatively liberal in their religious practices.

"It's unsurprising given the current security context and the concern the government has with maintaining security and stability and cracking down on the terrorists' networks". For some sects, the burqa is required, though there is not a large population of Muslims who must.

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". 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.