Morocco Said to Ban Sale of Burqas, Citing Security Concerns

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Source: The New York Times

CASABLANCA, Morocco — Morocco has banned the burqa, the full-body veil worn by some conservative Muslim women, according to local media reports.

Although the government did not confirm the ban, the reports said vendors and merchants had been notified on Monday by representatives of the Interior Ministry that they would no longer be allowed to sell or manufacture the religious garment because of security concerns. They said they were given a 48-hour deadline, but it was unclear when the rule would take effect.

Morocco, a majority-Muslim country and former French protectorate where the influence of Western secularist ideals remains, has been trying to foster more moderate expressions of Islam and subtly warn Islamists not to go too far, though acts of extremism remain rare.

The government of King Mohammed VI may have conceived the ban as a gesture to get that point across. 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. In any case, by targeting people who sell and produce the burqas, there is less risk of a public outcry, like the one in France last summer after the government banned the burkini, a full-body swimsuit favored by some Muslim women.

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