Netherlands Bans Islamic Veils And ‘Face-Covering Clothing’ In Public Places

The Netherlands bans the burqaReuters

Dutch parliament has approved a limited ban on people wearing ‘face-covering clothing’ within public places.

As well as items such as motor helmets and ski-masks, this partial ban will include the burqa and niqab. However, this will not ban the hijab which covers a woman’s hair rather than her face.

This ban will apply on public transport as well as within education establishments and public institutions such as hospitals and government buildings.

The ban will not apply to public streets. However, police officers can ask individuals to remove face-covering clothing for identification purposes.

The vote was cast in The Netherlands Parliament upper chamber, with Dutch MPs backing the bill by 44 to 31 votes.

According to The Guardian, The upper house of parliament stated:

The Senate has agreed with the bill,

The bill proposes a legal ban on wearing clothing that completely covers the face, or only shows the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in government institutions and hospitals.

Breaking this new law could carry a fine of around €400.

The Dutch government has described the bill as being ‘religion neutral,’ intended only to help improve safety in schools, hospitals and on public transport.

However, critics have expressed concerns that this a way to get rid of Islamic veils.

Furthermore, many feel the ban is unnecessary due to there being only a few hundred women in The Netherlands who wear face covering veils.

According to The Washington Post, Green Party Senator Ruard Ganzevoort said:

It is completely disproportionate and the only effect will be that many of these women will stay at home even more,

They will not have an opportunity to go to school. They will not have an opportunity to go to learn to swim, and all those things.

Annelies Moors, Anthropology and Sociology professor at the University of Amsterdam, said:

This is actually virtually a complete ban because the only spaces that are still available for women [ who wear veils] are the street and the private sector,

And, of course, the private sector can also have their house rules, they could also possibly legislate against their presence. So this leaves women very little space.

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been pressing for this ban for over a decade, and his Freedom Party have now celebrated the legislation as a victory for their anti-Islam rhetoric.

Wilders tweeted:

Finally, 13 years after a majority in the Dutch Parliament voted in favour of my motion to ban the burqa, it became law yesterday!

Senator Marjolein Faber-Van de Klashorst has echoed these extreme views, describing this motion as being ‘a historical day because this is the first step to de-Islamize the Netherlands.’

Faber-Van de Klashorst added:

This is the first step and the next step is to close all the mosques in the Netherlands.

Restrictions against wearing Islamic veils have already been implemented in countries such as Belgium, France, Denmark and Spain.

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