Representatives of the Ministry of Interior visited shops across Moroccan cities selling the niqab with a 48-hour notice to get rid of their stock.
Moroccan retailers and producers across Morocco were urged to halt the sale and production of niqab, in a 48-hour written notice sent by the Ministry of Interior to shops across the country's cities and towns. The letter also urges retailers to get rid of their niqab stock, and threatens with the confiscation of all goods to those who fail to follow those instructions within the two day period.
“Following the observations of the authorities, we notice that you sell niqab wear – so, we are calling on you to get rid of the products of this outfit within 48 hours and to refrain from selling it in the future,” read the warning, according to photographs circulating across social media platforms.
Local Moroccan women mostly prefer the hijab over the niqab, which is mostly worn in conservative regions in the north; however, the decision has split opinion in the North African kingdom. Whether this indicates a potential ban on wearing the full-body veil or merely containing the phenomena is still unclear.
"The measure appears to be motivated by security concerns," Le360 news site reported, quoting a high-ranking official in the Moroccan Interior Ministry. “We have taken measures to completely ban the import, manufacture, and marketing of this garment in all cities and towns in the kingdom,” the official - who remained anonymous - added.
Meanwhile, the Northern Moroccan National Observatory for Human Development said it considered the measure an "arbitrary decision that is an indirect violation of women's freedom of expression and wearing what reflects their identities or their religious, political or social beliefs," BBC reported.