Morocco hijab ban criticised

Several schools and businesses in Morocco have banned female students and women from wearing headscarves, Islamic newspaper al-Tajdid has said.

    The hijab is an Islamic religious obligation

    The newspaper, which is

     the mouthpiece of the Islamic Justice and

    Development Party, said since the September 11 attacks and

    the May 2003 attacks in Casablanca many women wearing the hijab have been sent home from work.

    Moroccan girls who wish to attend military academies, become air

    hostesses or join the police force "have certain rules imposed on

    them which do not leave open the possibility of wearing the

    headscarf", wrote the paper on Wednesday.

    Morocco criticised

    It cited several cases of women who were sent home from work or

    not allowed to attend higher education institutions "for the simple

    reason that they wore a headscarf".

    One student at the prestigious Ecole Muhammadia school of

    engineering "only wears her headscarf outside the school, fearing

    she will be expelled", said the paper.

    It condemned the alleged bans, recalling that Morocco's

    "constitution says that Islam is the official religion and the

    kingdom recognises human rights as they are recognised on an

    international scale". contacted the Moroccan interior ministry to comment on the accusations, but no one was available to respond.

    Since the Casablanca attacks in 2003, which killed 45 people, the

     Moroccan government has been accused of human rights abuses in cracking down on Islamist dissent.



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