DAKAR, Senegal, Nov. 18 (UPI/Ed Adamczyk) ─ Senegal announced plans this week to ban women from wearing the burqa to stop Islamic terrorists from using the full-face veil as a disguise.
The heavily Muslim country follows Chad, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon in ordering the ban on the face covering that leaves only the eyes exposed. All, including Senegal, are former French colonies in western and central Africa.
Interior Minister Abdoulaye Daouda referred to the proposed ban as an anti-terrorist, and not anti-Islamic, action. Senegal practices a relatively tolerant form of Islam; and few women wear the burqa, but fears that Islamic extremists may soon target the country surfaced after five people suspected of ties to Boko Haram, including at least two religious leaders, were arrested in a nationwide crackdown.
A burqa ban did not stop violence in Chad earlier this year. Two days after a ban was announced, two suicide bombers in burqas killed at least 27 people in the capital, N’Djamena.
Senegal also announced a Nov. 30 deadline to register all sim cards, the identity module in cellphones, to reduce the number of illegally used phones. Officials believe Boko Haram uses unregistered cellphones to carry out its activities, and all cards not registered will be deactivated.