LIFT THE VEIL

A Muslim country has banned the import, production and sale of burqas

After France and Germany, a new country is now at war with the burqa. This time, however, the cultural context is unusual: the ban is being enforced in Morocco, where the majority of population is Muslim, and Islam is the official religion.

The move, reports 360, started Jan. 9 in Casablanca, where a law enforcement official visited workshops making burqas and other types of full veils (such as the niqab), and demanded they stop work. Some of the producers had been notified a day prior of an order to stop producing full veiled garments and get rid of the stocks they already possessed.

It wasn’t initially clear whether the ban was going to be city-specific. Later in the day, a high official of the Moroccan ministry of the interior confirmed to 360 that the government has “taken the measure to completely ban the import, production and sale of this garment [full veil] in all the towns and localities of the kingdom.” The news organization did not disclose the name of the official. Some of the burqa makers reported to 360 that this decision was explained as a safety measure: The garment—usually sold for about 60 Moroccan Dirhams, or $6—has allegedly been used by outlaws who hid behind it to commit crimes.

The decision has generated dissent amongst some conservative groups. Wearing a full veil isn’t traditional in Morocco. The burqa is typically of Afghan origin, while the niqab, the black full veil that only uncovers the eyes, is from Saudi Arabia.

Quartz has contacted the Moroccan government requesting further details.

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