In the News: Tunisia Bans Face Coverings in Public Buildings

Tunisia bans niqab in government buildings, France 24, 2019-07-06

Tunisia’s premier on Friday banned the niqab face covering in government offices, citing security concerns after attacks in the North African country. 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 ban on the niqab, which covers the entire face apart from the eyes, comes at a time of heightened security following a June 27 double suicide bombing in Tunis that left two dead and seven wounded.

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The niqab and other outward shows of Islamic devotion were not tolerated under the regime of longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali but have made a comeback since he was toppled in Tunisia’s 2011 revolution. After bloody attacks in 2015 that targeted security forces and tourists, there were calls in Tunisia to re-impose the ban. A female suicide bomber, her face covered, wounded nine people, mainly police officers, in an October attack in downtown Tunis.

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