Morocco bans sale and production of burqa

The party considers the wearing of the burqa to be an overt act of "Islamic proselytism" which should be "banned".

However, the Interior Ministry of Morocco just announced it has "taken the step of completely banning the import, manufacture and marketing of this garment in all the cities and towns of the kingdom".

The new measure has however been contested against by Salafist leaders of the country who expressed misgivings that the ban will be a first step towards the prohibition of the wearing of the hijab and the niqab.

Relatively few Moroccan women wear the burqa, which is much more common in conservative Muslim societies like Afghanistan and Pakistan, but many do wear traditional dresses and head scarves.

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

On 09 January 2017, interior agents conducted "campaigns to raise awareness among traders" in Casablanca, the country's economic capital, "to inform them of thie new decision of banning the burqa", according to the website Media 24.

The government has confirmed, but not publicly spoken about, the policy, but are warning businesses the ban is coming.

"I am against the culture of banning in principle", Ali Anouzla, a Moroccan journalist, said on his Facebook page.

The controversial issue has spurred a fierce debate about whether burqa ban is a repressal of religious freedom of women or a praiseworthy move towards women's liberation.

Farah Cherif D'Ouezzan, the founder of the Center for Cross Cultural Learning in Rabat, told the Times there still was a great deal of confusion surrounded the alleged ban because of the lack of official confirmation. "I would like to know how many people they have arrested".

The Foreign Office also states that Moroccan authorities have warned of an increased threat "linked to the growing number of Moroccans sympathetic or belonging to Daesh and other extremist groups", and regularly disrupt terrorist cells, some of which meant to carry out attacks in Morocco. "The number of women who wear the burqa in this country is still insignificant".

  • Jon Douglas