Morocco is about 99 percent Muslim, so it would seem like an unlikely jurisdiction for one of the world’s strictest burqa bans.
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.”
According to the UK Independent, producers and retailers of the Islamic women’s garment have already begun receiving written warnings. The notices give them 48 hours to dispose of their inventory, or it will be confiscated by the government.
“The ban is understood to apply only to full-face covering burqas. The majority of Muslim women in the country wear headscarves without the veil [hijab], or niqab,” the Independent adds.
France24 reports that Interior Ministry officials conducted “awareness-raising campaigns with traders to inform them of this new decision” on Monday.
The burqa ban is evidently motivated by security concerns, particularly over bandits using the full body and face coverings to disguise themselves. Australia’s News.com also quotes politician Nouzha Skalli praising the ban as “an important step in the fight against religious extremism.”
Public reaction to the ban is described as “muted in the absence of official confirmation” by France24, with the loudest complaints coming from Salafist Muslims who worry that slightly-less-concealing niqabs might be banned next. Salafist sheikh Hassan Kettani declared that a niqab ban would be a “disaster” on Facebook.