Netherlands: What about the burqa ban?

The Sunday Telegraph came out yesterday with an announcement that the Dutch are planning to ban the Muslim veil. Expatica published an article with the title Verdonk: no Burka ban just yet.

The question is therefore: what's going on?

The short answer: The Sunday Telegraph likes eye catching headlines, but Expatica is closer to the truth.

Politics has never been my forte, but I'll try to summarize. The Dutch parliament voted to accept a complete ban on the burqa. This is not the Muslim veil, but rather a garment which covers the entire body and face. Though not mentioned, this probably also includes the niqab, a garment which covers the face, but leaves the eyes uncovered. This ban would supposedly affect about 50 women in the Netherlands.

The Dutch cabinet therefore set up a committee of experts to see whether such a ban is possible. After discussing the issue for quite some time the committee advised the cabinet that such a ban is not possible according to current Dutch law. However, Minister Verdonk, the intergration minister, announced she would do everything she can to make sure the burqa is banned in public. Though a general ban will probably not be realistic due to freedom of religion, she thinks it is already possible according to Dutch law to ban the burqa in public transport and in the educational system.

The cabinet will also actively check whether a general ban is feasible. Other ministers denied that assertion.

Such a ban could also include other face coverings such as helmets and balaclavas.

Sources: Sunday Telegraph (English), Expatica (English), Parool (Dutch)

See also: Banning the burka in Holland, Netherlands: Stepping into the veil debate

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