Full veil banned for Rwandan Muslim women

Updated: 2016-07-07 10:01


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KIGALI - The Mufti of Rwandan Muslims Salim Hitimana announced Wednesday that they had reached a decision banning wearing of the Muslim full-face veil - the niqab.

Speaking during Eid celebrations at Kigali regional stadium, Hitimana said the ban on wearing veil is for security reasons because it conceals the face.

Niqab has been used by terrorists to compromise security, "not only in Rwanda but across the world," he said.

He stressed that the Quran asks, "Women to cover all parts of the body but not their faces and the hands."

For the goodness of our faith and for security reasons, he said, we concluded that niqab should not be used in our country, because some people have abused this dress code to carry out terrorism in the name of Islam across the world.

Though some Muslims who spoke on condition of anonymity say the ban violates their religious freedom, Sheikh Musa Sindayigaya, the spokesperson of Muslim community in Rwanda, says the ban has wide support.

Muslims constitute about 4.6 of Rwandan population. But it's not clear how many wear the veil.

The Mufti warned the Muslim community in Rwanda against extremism.