It’s the first ban on full-face veils this year, and the location isn’t Europe…
The burqa has reportedly been banned in Morocco, with retailers served a notice advising them to get rid of their stock in the next 48 hours.
The North African country sent out letters on Monday, according to local reports, with officials citing “security concerns” as the reason behind the move.
There’s been no official public announcement by the nation’s government, but local retailers have told publications including Morocco’s le360 that the reports are true.
According to the notice, there will be no more selling, producing or importing the full-face veil, though it is not known if the wearing of the garment itself will be prohibited.
An interior ministry official confirmed the news, telling Le360 that “bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes”.
“We have taken the step of completely banning the import, manufacture and marketing of this garment in all the cities and towns of the kingdom.”
The burqa, however, is not widely worn in the country ruled by King Mohammed VI, who according to Al Jazeera “favours a moderate version of Islam”.
Instead, many Muslim women in the country prefer to don the hijab, the sale of which has not been forbidden, though there are some more conservation regions where the niqab is worn.
Where else is the burqa banned?
While Morocco hasn’t outlawed the wearing of the full-face veil, several European nations have in recent times.
France was the first European country to ban the burqa – a clampdown on students in state-run schools began in 2004, and the law came into full effect in April 2011. Anyone caught wearing the burqa or niqab is fined €150 (Dhs749).
However Belgium, which introduced a similar ban shortly after France, goes even further – anyone caught wearing the veil risks being jailed for up to seven days and fined €1,378 (Dhs5,685).
The Netherlands last year voted in favour of banning the burqa in some public spaces, along with helmets and face-concealing masks, and the proposal will now go in front of the country’s Senate.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a national ban on the covering “wherever possible” as she addressed her conservative Christian Democratic Union party last month.
The politician, who is currently campaigning for her fourth term as the nation’s leader, told party attendees that “the full-face veil is not acceptable in our country”.
For a full list of countries when the burqa is forbidden, click here.