Moumine Ngarmbassa/Reuters
Security officers stand at the site of a suicide bombing in Ndjamena, Chad, on Monday. 33 people were killed and 100 others were injured on in two attacks in N'Djamena, which the government blamed on the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. The government announced Wednesday a ban on burqas, which terrorists could use to hide explosives.

Chad bans burqas following terrorist attacks

The African nation joins Republic of the Congo, as well as France, in banning the traditional garment worn by some Muslim women.

Chad announced a nationwide ban on burqas Wednesday, following suicide bombings that claimed the lives of 33 people earlier this week in the nation’s capital of N'Djamena, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Prime Minister Kalzeube Pahimi Deube said burqas – and any other face-obscuring garments – would no longer be allowed in the mostly Muslim country because they provide “camouflage” to terrorists, according to AFP. Monday’s attacks have been attributed to Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, which has used burqas in the past to allow female suicide bombers to conceal explosives.

Mr. Deube said security forces were instructed to “go into markets and seize all the burqas on sale and burn them.”

Chad is not the first nation to ban burqas in the name of security. It follows the Republic of the Congo, which instituted a similar policy in May, becoming the first country in the region to do so, according to the BBC. A government spokesman said the measure reinforced the country’s secular identity, but also prevented the veils from being used as disguises in terrorist attacks.

France also banned burqas in a 2010 law that made it illegal to keep one’s face covered while in a public place. The law was famously challenged last year for discriminating against Muslim women, but the European Court of Human Rights upheld it.

But the Muslim populations in Republic of the Congo and France are relatively small. Only seven to nine percent of French people identify as Muslim, and in Republic of the Congo, only 1.6 percent of people do, according to the CIA World Factbook.

In Chad, on the other hand, Muslims make up just over 53 percent of the overall population as of the 1993 census – the most recent data available – according to the CIA World Factbook. Women wear the burqa for religious reasons, but the BBC reported many also wear them as protection against the Sahara climate.

The ban would not only keep faces uncovered in public, but in all spheres, including the home.

"Wearing the burqa must stop immediately from today, not only in public places and schools but throughout the whole of the country," Deubet said.

Backlash against the ban like France saw has not yet been observed in Chad, and may not be possible due to the country’s political climate. President Idriss Deby came to power through a coup in 1990, and his four-term reign has been marked by thwarted rebellions and allegations of corruption, according to the BBC.

Amnesty International also reported that in 2014 and 2015, “The rights to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly were frequently violated ... People, including protesters, were killed by members of the security services during demonstrations.”

Boko Haram has not officially claimed responsibility for Monday’s attacks, and has never attacked Chad’s capital before, instead engaging in assaults on smaller villages on the country’s border with Nigeria.

However, President Deby said he was “not surprised” that Chad had become a target, AFP reported. The country has taken a leadership role in the fight against the militant group, setting up a task force in N’Djamena combining military and civil forces from neighboring Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Benin, and Cameroon. Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened in the past to attack Chad and other countries that united against the group.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Chad bans burqas following terrorist attacks
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today