One Nigerian state is starting to enforce a strict dress code on rickshaw taxi drivers who are showing a little too much shoulder or leg for the Shariah law-abiding government. That means no shorts, no skirts, no shoulder-revealing sleeveless shirts, or you'll be arrested. That's right, they're cracking down on the jorts-wearing young men who ferry people around for a fee.
The Associated Press reports 10,000 police will be deployed in the northern Kano state, ordered to crack down on anyone caught wearing sleeveless T-shirts or cut-off shorts. Government officials recently announced the new rules aimed at the revealing wardrobe of the state's rickshaw drivers. One spokesperson summed up the motivation behind the new law in an interview with the AP:
"The way and manner some of the commercial tricycle operators engage in indecent dressing and carry men and women together is disturbing," said Yusuf Yola, spokesman for the Hisbah board that is responsible for ensuring compliance with Shariah laws in Kano.
Oh, if a driver's caught ferrying men and women together, he can be arrested for that, too. Yola said the clothes were "un-Hausa," a reference to the largest tribe in Nigeria, adding a subtle dig to his case against shorts.
A number of Nigerian states have adopted Shariah law recently, but the rigidity of restrictions varies from state-to-state. Some are more lax in their enforcement than others. But in Kano, Muslims and Christians will be expected to comply with the new regulations.
Iran blazed the "morality police" trail first, setting restrictions on sleeve length, cut and fit of women's clothes. (And on men's haircuts.) In Iran, some clothing designers figured out a way to work within the frames provided by the government, while others weren't so lucky.