Burqa ban splits Morocco society


Moroccon women in burqa with their children on a beach. The Muslim Times has a large collection of articles about Hijab

Source: Arab News

RABAT: Morocco’s ban on the sale and production of full-face veils (burqa) has sharply divided opinions in the North African country.

Writers and intellectuals have condemned the burqa ban.

“No authority in the world has the right to impose a dress code on a woman or a man for their everyday life,” wrote columnist Abdellah Tourabi, in a view widely shared on social media in Morocco.

Is the burqa foreign to Moroccan culture? he asked.

Sure, but “slim jeans were not the apparel of the sultans and our grandmothers were not crazy about Victoria’s Secret bras,” Tourabi said.

“The burqa is not an item of clothing just like any other… it’s an instrument of oppression, a horrific negation of women, an insult to half of humanity,” according to award-winning French-Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani.

Slimani, in an opinion piece on news website Le360, said the burqa ban signaled that Morocco was moving “toward greater equality between the sexes.”

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7 replies

  1. Morocco ‘bans sale and production’ of the burka

    Source: Telegraph

    By James Rothwell Rémy Pigaglio, casablanca

    Morocco has reportedly banned the sale and production of the burka in what appears to be the latest stage of the kingdom’s crackdown on Islamic extremism.

    Letters announcing the ban were sent out to market vendors earlier this week, with businessmen given just 48 hours to get rid of their stock.

    It is unclear whether the ban, which is linked to security concerns as the burka fully conceals the wearer’s face, extends to wearing the burka in public places.

    “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,” a senior Moroccan government official told local news website le360.

    The kingdom’s government has not confirmed the ban and it was unavailable for comment on Thursday.

    Relatively few Muslim women in Morocco wear the burka, which completely conceals the wearer’s face with a grille.

    They instead opt for the hijab, a headscarf, or the niqab, which leaves the eyes visible.

    The burka is more commonly worn in conservative Muslim societies such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The Foreign Office says there is a “high risk” of terror attacks in Morocco, a popular tourist destination that sees up to 600,00 British visitors each year.

    King Mohammed VI, who oversees the Moroccan government, has said that he favours a moderate version of Islam and has vowed to crack down on homegrown terrorism.

    “Those who engage in terrorism, in the name of Islam, are not Muslims,” he said in a speech last August. “Their only link to Islam is the pretexts they use to justify their crimes and their folly.

    “They have strayed from the right path, and their fate is to dwell forever in hell.”

    The ban has divided Moroccans – while some Salafist Muslim groups have strongly criticised the move, others say it is justified as the burka oppresses women.

    “When it’s about wearing a hijab, a burqa, salafis all agree,” said Saida Drissi, chairman of the Democratic Association of the Women of Morocco.

    “But we never hear them [protest] when a girl can’t wear a miniskirt…do the salafis believe in the freedom of religion, in the personal rights, in the fact that the woman is a citizen ?”


  2. I expect the two sides in the Moroccan debate to talk passed each other. One side will say it is a tool of oppression and a security risk and the other will say that it is about culture, Islam and choice of women. The twain shall never meet in a genuine discussion of ideas.

    The debate will perhaps be decided by emotional appeal, persistence and other strategies.

    This is perhaps the nature of debate between left and right forces in any religious society.

    There may be something to learn from Kemal Ata Turk, as to how he brought Turkey towards a left leaning agenda during his successful tenure and became known as the father of modern Turkey.

  3. the UK’s National Secular Society came out against a burka ban, saying “the NSS opposes any attempt to legally ban the burka or niqab. We do so on two grounds of principle: a woman’s right to choose what she wears, i.e. her right to free expression; and her right to religious freedom.”

    Secularism is about respecting the right of people to follow any religion equally (or none), and of keeping religion out of politics and politics out of religion. Secularism is a check and balance against fundamentalist excess. Sensible people of faith are, or ought to be, secularists – unless they follow a brand of religion that wants to control everybody.

    The question is not about to veil or not to veil but for every woman to have the right to choose. This is question of basic human right including the right to freedom of religion and expression. French administrators have played into people’s fears and intolerance without adequately answering what great threat was posed by girls going to school in a headscarves? I do not believe in taking the rights of other people, and doing so shows the weakness of French democracy.

  4. Even in a secular society ‘free expression to wear whatever’ is not accepted. If a woman or a man were to walk around exposing themselves they would be arrested for indecency. There have to be laws and regulations in any society to protect the interests of society. In Islamic countries like Saudi they have their laws (whether outsiders agree with them or not is another question), and in other countries they have theirs. Those women who want to continue wearing their traditional and alien clothing once they come to other countries should not be surprised if they are not accepted by that society. There is no logic in walking around shrouded like ghosts. It isn’t a religious requirement, just something made up by men in another age to control women, but women have become so used to it that they are not aware or question. They mostly don’t want to or can’t integrate anyway, and live in a state of self-imposed apartheid. Therefore, adjust or stay away, it’s that simple.

  5. Misunderstanding. I was referring to living in the secular alternative to Morocco. And you are only partially correct, Rafiq A. Tschannen. Women who wear the burqua do so because of culture and tradition, which they can’t seem to dispense with when they leave their home countries, mostly due to the pressure they are subjected to by community and family. Although there are some who escape the constraints of such clothing once they have the opportunity to do so. Why should the rest of the world be expected to wear Arabic clothing, it doesn’t make someone a better person? There was a time not so long ago when much of the more progressive Islamic world had adopted ‘Western’ clothing, without problems arising. It is possible to be modest and ‘modern’.

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