Restriction on Religion in Morocco on the Rise: Study

Restriction on Religion in Morocco on the Rise: Study

Youssef Igrouane
Casablanca Women Stage Sit-In Denouncing Burqa Ban
Photo credit: Hespress

Rabat – Restriction on religion in Morocco has been increasing, according to a new study conducted by the AmericanPew Research Center.

The study, which surveyed 198 countries, listed Morocco among 23 countries with ‘very high’ government restrictions on religion in 2015, along with Vietnam, Singapore, Algeria, Iraq, Eritrea, Brunei and Mauritania.

The center further noted that there were four countries, including Morocco, Cameroon, Comoros, and Niger – that experienced a large change on the Government Restrictions Index in 2015 showing a movement toward higher restrictions.

The Washington-based center did not explain precisely how restriction on religion in Morocco was increasing. It did, however, say that this rise was due to policies targeting certain religious practices.

The report noted that in July of 2015, the governor of Cameroon’s Far North Region banned the full-face veil after female suicide bombers wearing the religious garment killed at least 13 people in attacks.

Restriction on religion in Morocco increased markedly from 2007 to 2015, according to the study, which showed that the baseline for the study was 4.9 in 2007, 5.3 in 2014, and had increased to 7.5 by December 2015.

In January 2017, the Moroccan Minister of Interior decided to prohibit the sale and manufacture of the burqa across the country.

The decision, which captured the attention of the international media, stirred a heated controversy among Moroccans themselves, inspiring several preachers to argue publicly over the issue.

The ban on the sale of burqa, was widely suspected to have been motivated by security concerns. It prompted scores of Moroccan women who wear the garment to gather outside parliament in Rabat and pour into the squares in Casablanca to denounce the decision.

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