With the upsurge in radical Islamic terrorist attacks, some countries have been struggling to balance religious freedom with security interests, particularly when it comes to traditional Muslim garb such as the burqa.
The North African country of Morocco has reportedly banned the full-body veil worn by conservative Muslim women in an apparent effort to promote more moderate expressions of the religion, according to Fox News.
Local media reported that burqa manufacturers and merchants received written warnings from the interior ministry on Monday instructing them to stop making and selling the garment.
It was not immediately clear how much backlash or effect this “burqa ban” would have, because, although comprising 99 percent of the population, the majority of Morocco’s Muslims are not as traditional as those in some other countries, such as Afghanistan or Pakistan.
In fact, most Muslim women in Morocco prefer the more moderate hijab headscarf that does not cover the face, according to France 24.
Furthermore, the ban apparently only targeted the manufacturers and sellers of the burqa and did not include a ban on actually wearing the religious garment.
The measure was apparently in response to security concerns, “since bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes,” an official told Moroccan news site Le360, as translated by France 24.
While we certainly understand the desire to protect its people from attack, we must be careful in the United States in taking similar actions because violating one person or group’s religious freedom could lead to a violation of everyone’s religious freedom.
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