Netherlands: Cut off welfare benefits if burka prevents getting a job

Netherlands: Cut off welfare benefits if burka prevents getting a job

Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen said in an interview Monday in Dutch newspaper Trouw that a woman who will not take off her burka in order to get work, will not get welfare. National politicians meanwhile support this proposal.

In 2007 the court in Amsterdam said that the Diemen municipality was wrong to cut off welfare benefits for a woman wearing a burka. In response the parliament, with the support of the PVV, VDD, and SP parties, voted to enable cutting down on benefits for burka wearers The vote to cut off welfare completely was only supported by the PVV and did not pass.

The CDA party said Monday that they could agree with Cohen's ideas. The PvdA also says they support him: first cutting down and then stopping. Jeroen Dijsselbloem sees analogies to somebody with 'fourteen piercings in his face'. "It's all well, but then also no benefits."

There is every indication that such a vote would now get a majority.

"Personally I think it's dreadful to see a woman walking in a burka. But whether I think it's not pleasant, is not a criteria to ban it," according to Cohen in Trouw Monday. In situations where contact is necessary with other people, such as school or work, the situation is completely different, he says. "I agree that if you can't find work because of the burka, you also can't come to ask for welfare."

a municipality spokesperson emphasized Monday that already for years the municipality can ask people who get benefits to adapt their appearance if that stands in the way of opportunities in the job-market. That also applies to people with piercings. Indeed, the social service in the capital never had to refused welfare for a burka wearer.

In 2006, Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb, now the mayor of Rotterdam, made a similar proposal.

Source: Telegraaf 1,2 (Dutch)

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