Morocco, one of the major allies of the US and the West in the MENA region, has banned the wearing, the manufacturing or marketing of burkas (full veil), according to local media.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), there was no official announcement by authorities in the North African nation, only reports saying the interior ministry order would take effect this week.
Le360, a news site close to the Moroccan Interior Ministry, quoted an unidentified ministry official who confirmed the ban on the sale of the garment, which is often blue and covers the head. He added that "bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes".
In Morocco, niqab, an integral veil that reveals only the eyes, is worn by certain women, especially in Salafist circles in conservative regions in the north of the country and small towns.
France24 reports that Interior Ministry officials conducted "awareness-raising campaigns with traders to inform them of this new decision" on Monday.
The ban will apply only to full-face covering burqas.
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"It's unsurprising given the current security context and the concern the government has with maintaining security and stability and cracking down on the terrorists' networks".
Even though acts of extremism are infrequent in Morocco due to the influence of Western secularist ideals, it has since been attempting to enforce more subtle expressions of Islam by warning Islamists not to go overboard.
In an interview with Le360 Tuesday, Morocco's former Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family, and Social Development Nouzha Skalli said, "The burka is a symbol of enslavement". For some sects, the burqa is required, though there is not a large population of Muslims who must. FN compares the ban's definitive nature to the inertia caused in other countries by what it calls "guilt and ideological blinders that paralyze political leaders of the left and right through policy".
Hammad Kabbadj, a preacher whose candidacy for parliamentary election was rejected because of his alleged extremist views, also denounced the ban.
Morocco has also not completely banned the wearing of the burqa and it is not clear whether this will come in the future.