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.
Netherlands approves limited ban on 'face covering clothing' like niqabs and burqas pic.twitter.com/1dVZa5HAKT
— rsirbu (@rsirbu1) June 26, 2018
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.
But they say they have a free world and free speech and woman should not be told what to wear!! Now it is clear that it is about Islam only
— الصلت الفهدي (@AsaltFahdi) June 27, 2018
It's normal in most western societies to not hide your face… So yeah I think this should be a standard law everywhere.
— J.B. Williams (@SONNYofMANNY) June 27, 2018
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.
There are only about 400 women in The Netherlands who wear them. We hardly ever see them. This new law is about a non-existing problem. I am deeply ashamed about it.
— tiete sijens (@tietesijens) June 26, 2018
Yeah it is their choice. Most women veil themselves because they want to and not because they are forced by their husbands or fathers or any other family members.
— Mert ? Angels & Demons (@mertdecimvs) June 26, 2018
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.
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.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) June 27, 2018
Restrictions against wearing Islamic veils have already been implemented in countries such as Belgium, France, Denmark and Spain.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.