Tunisia bans niqab in public institutions after three terror attacks in a week
London, July 5, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Tunisia has banned the wearing of the niqab in public institutions for security reasons following three terror attacks.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s decision to ban the full face veil follows a suicide bombing in Tunis on Wednesday by a wanted militant.
Witnesses said the suicide bomber who blew himself up was disguised in a niqab.
It was the third incident in a week – Islamic State has said it carried out all three attacks – and came as Tunisia prepares for autumn elections.
The country is also at the height of a tourist season in which it hopes to draw record numbers of visitors.
A government official said: “Chahed signed a government decree that bars any person with an undisclosed face from access to public headquarters, administrations, institutions, for security reasons.”
In 2011, women were allowed to wear the hijab and niqab in Tunisia after a decades-long ban under secular presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Habib Bourguiba, who rejected all forms of Islamic dress.
Tunisia has been battling against militant groups operating in remote areas near its border with Algeria since an uprising overthrew Ben Ali in 2011.
It is one of the few countries in the region where Islamists share rule with secular parties.
The banning of the veil in Tunisia follows similar moves by a number of European countries.
Last year, Denmark introduced a total ban on niqabs and burkas which conceal even more of the face.
The Netherlands has also outlawed face-coverings in public places, including schools, hospitals and public transport.
France banned the wearing of face-covering headwear in public places in 2010, handing out fines to those who break the law.
In Britain, Conservative leadership contender Boris Johnson faced a major row last year when he compared women wearing face veils to “letter boxes” and bank robbers.