With the recent upsurge of Boko Haram attacks, including suicide bombings increasingly carried out by young women, a number of African governments, including Congo, Chad, Cameroon and Guinea, have initiated a ban on wearing the niqab, the full-face veil.
"We have accepted this measure because we want the security of our country and our citizens," El Hadj Djibril Habdoulaye Bopaka, president of the Congolese Supreme Islamic Council, told Anadolu Agency. "If they had forbidden Muslims to pray in mosques, to build mosques, read the Quran or train young Muslims, we obviously would not have reacted the same way."
Although Congo Brazaville has been spared thus far from Boko Haram attacks, which focus mainly around the far northern region of Cameroon, on the border with Nigeria, Congo Brazaville was the first country in the Lake Chad Basin region to ban the niqab.
Eighty percent of Congo Brazaville’s population is Christian. The government has asked the Islamic Council to convince people of the new measures and explain to them that they are preventive measures against terrorism.