Algerian authorities on Thursday banned women from wearing full-face veils, or niqabs, at work, citing reasons of identification for the decision.
The country has been split between moderate and more radical forms of Islam since it was plunged into years of civil war in 1992, when a military-backed government cancelled elections that an Islamist party was poised to win.
Most Algerian women do not wear the niqab, but the decision is likely to criticized by Algeria's Salafists minority.
In a statement released by the government titled, ‘The duties of employees and public servants in dress codes’. They said that women “are obliged to respect the rules and requirements of security and communication which is at the level of their interests, and requires the recognition of their identity in an automatic and permanent manner, especially in the workplace.”
They also listed instructions to be strictly abided by, and that any clothing that prohibits them from carrying out their public service is strictly prohibited.
This cause a lot of controversy, with many questioning why a niqab would obstruct women from doing their jobs.
Earlier, the government had said that female students were not allowed to wear headscarves during examinations claiming that it could be used as a way of cheating.
- With Reuters