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 - War On Hijab

    Morocco moves to drop headscarf

    Morocco is making major changes to religious education, in particular regarding whether young girls should wear headscarves.

    A picture of a mother and her daughter wearing headscarves is being removed from the latest editions of a text book.

    A verse from the Qu'ran that says girls should don veils has already been taken out of the books.


    There are few things that have become such obvious and controversial symbols of Islamic identity as the headscarf.

    But until now it has not been a controversial issue in Morocco.

    On Avenue Mohammed V, the main avenue in central Rabat, older women in particular can be seen wearing traditional long robes with full headscarves.

    But younger women wear everything from that to more modern clothes such as trainers, jeans and T-shirts, with nothing on their heads - except perhaps some expensive designer sunglasses.

    The variety of clothes and head dresses seems to reflect the fact that Morocco is seen as a liberal country with some pro-western leanings.

    But for some more conservative people this latest move is an underhand way of undermining Morocco's Islamic roots.

    Abdelkarim El Houichre from the Association of Teachers of Islamic Education does not trust the government's motives:

    "I think there is pressure coming from the United States, which believes that teaching about traditional Islam and teaching girls to wear headscarves will somehow encourage extremism and terrorism," he says.

    "But I think Islamic education has to be kept within mainstream teaching in our schools because that way we can control it. If we deny it to them in school then they will only go and find out more outside of school and they are more likely to fall into the wrong hands."

    BBC News
    6 October 2006

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