RABAT - Feminist activists in Morocco have launched a campaign against what they say the veiling of Muslim girls at young age, describing the practice as a form of child abuse.
Girls at this age know nothing about religion and what is prohibited and what is not, the Center for Woman's Equality said in a statement cited by Al-Arabiya television.
The center says that girls at the age of three to 10 are forced by parents to take on the headscarf (hijab).
The activists argue that the veiling of young girls amounted child abuse.
Islamic bodies need to interfere to make things clear and tell people that forcing young girls to wear the veil is not part of Islam, the center says.
The activists cited the case of a 10-year old child, Mariam, who was said to have taken on the hijab at the order of her father.
He said that it will protect me from harassment, she told Al-Arabiya.
The girl also says that she was told by her mother that hijab is a religious obligation.
She said I have to get used to it while I am still young, otherwise I would go to hell, she said.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
A Muslim woman is obliged to wear hijab as soon as she reaches puberty and Muslim parents should encourage their daughters to wear it.
Forcing girls under the age of wearing hijab is against the Islamic teachings.
The female activists argue that forcing girls to wear hijab at a young age would threaten their psychological stability.
Their inability to distinguish between those concepts will put them in a constant state of confusion and eventually drive them to isolate themselves from the outside world.
Sociologists also warn that forcing young girls to wear hijab has psychological ramifications.
They will start associating their bodies to shame which has to be hidden and this view contradicts the true essence of Islam, sociologist Karima Wadghiri said.
She argued that when they grow up these girls will confuse conservatism with fanaticism and liberalism with immorality.
Society will later be divided not on class or financial status as is usually the case, but on religious and ideological basis.Morocco has a population of over 32 million.