Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dutch cabinet approves partial ban on Islamic veil in public areas

Two women wearing Islamic veils in the Netherlands. If a ban is enforced, people could be fined for wearing the niqab. Photograph: Jerry Lampen/AFP/Getty Images

Schools, hospitals and public transport would be covered by ban, but Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte insists prohibition is not religiously motivated

The Dutch cabinet has approved a proposal for a partial ban on face-covering Islamic veils on public transport and in public areas such as schools and hospitals.

After the cabinet backed a bill by the interior minister, Ronald Plasterk, the government said in a statement on Friday: “Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport.”

The ban would not apply to wearing the burqa or the niqab on the street, only for security reasons or “in specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen”, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

He said: “The bill does not have any religious background.” The proposal will be sent to a panel of legal advisers for assessment.

The government said it had “tried to find a balance between people’s freedom to wear the clothes they want and the importance of mutual and recognisable communication”. It said the cabinet “sees no reason for a general ban that would apply to all public places”.

A previous bill that proposed banning face-covering veils on the street will be withdrawn. It dated from Rutte’s previous government, which was supported by the anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders.
It was agreed that a new bill would be drawn up by the coalition partners of Rutte’s VVD party and the PvdA party when they formed a coalition in 2012.

Those flouting the ban, if it is enforced, could be fined up to €405 (£288).

NOS, the state broadcaster, said that between 100 and 500 women in the Netherlands wore the burqa, most of them only occasionally.

The Guardian
May 22nd, 2015

I'll be damned. So the ban against face covering veils is now happening in this country as well then.

If we go to one of their countries we'd also be expected to follow their culture to a certain extent, though, so I'm not against this.

Not that many women here wear the burka, though (the face covered in addition to everything else to hide a woman's sexual attractiveness).

The burka is the most extreme form and can be seen in Afghanistan -- where even the eyes are hidden by mesh.

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