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The Gambia has ordered female government employees to wear headscarves at work in a sign that the west African country is embracing a Muslim identity, one month after its president, Yahya Jammeh, declared it an Islamic republic.
Female workers are no longer allowed to expose their hair, said a memo circulated to all ministries and departments, while giving no reason for the decision. “Female staff are urged to use head ties and neatly wrap their hair,” it said.
About 95% of the Gambia’s 1.8 million people are Muslim and the country is now the second Islamic republic in Africa after Mauritania. Other such countries include Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.