Tunisia, the Noth African country’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed signed a government circular “banning access to public administrations and institutions to anyone with their face covered for security reasons,” his office said. The premier court of the Muslim majority country enforced a ban on the niqab in government spaces citing security reasons.
The niqab is a garment that covers the entire face except for the eyes. This ban on the Niqab in government officers comes after the dastardly double suicide bombing on 27th June.
On 27th June, terrorists had carried out 2 fatal suicide bombings in quick succession against security forces in the capital city of Tunisia injuring several and killing at least 1 police officer. This was the second such suicide bombing in Tunisia in the past 9 months.
In February 2014, the interior minister of Tunisia had told the security forces to put up measures to supervise the wearing of the niqab so terrorists and Jihadis don’t use it to escape the law.
The reactions in Tunisia were mixed, as per reports in AFP. While some said that the government had the right to restrict the use of niqab, others said that it was a matter of personal choice.
“We are for the freedom to dress (as one pleases), but today with the current situation and the terrorist threats in Tunisia and across the region we find justifications for this decision,” the league’s president Jamel Msallem told AFP. He said the ban should be repealed as soon as “a normal security situation returns in Tunisia”.
Tunisia is a Muslim country with Islam being the state religion. The government of the country is considered the ‘Guardians of Islam’ and the constitution requires the president of the country to be a Muslim.
During the reign of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s longtime autocrat, any outward show of religion, even Islam, was not tolerated in Tunisia but the situation changed after the ‘revolution’ of 2011. The ban on such religious symbols was lifted post-2011, however, after the terror attack of 2015, there were calls to re-impose the ban on the niqab.