Netherlands may soon issue a complete ban on Muslim face veils after its government announced yesterday to outlaw the wearing of niqab, or full-face veil, as well as the burka, cloak covering the head, in public spaces.Reply
If the Dutch government issued such a ruling, Netherlands will be the first European state to impose a nationwide ban on Muslims’ face veils.
The debate on the Muslim women’s right to wear the full face veil, or niqab, and whether it prevents Muslims from integrating into Western societies has gathered momentum all over Europe, following remarks by key British leaders, calling on Muslim women to take their niqabs off.
The right-leaning coalition said it would seek a way to ban all Muslim face veils.
Last December, the Dutch parliament voted in favour of a proposal by far-right politician Geert Wilders, seeking to criminalize face coverings, for what it said were “security concerns”.
Dutch lawmakers asked Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to examine the feasibility of such proposal.
Verdonk stated that the government would now push for a total ban on Muslims’ veils, even though the legislation would contradict Dutch religious freedom laws.
"The cabinet finds the wearing of a burka undesirable ... but cannot at present enforce a total ban," Verdonk was quoted by the Dutch news agency, ANP, as saying.
But she affirmed that the government would try to find a way around this;
"The government will search for the possibility to provide a ban," her spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency.
According to Muslim groups, who warned that such a move would only result in increasing the feelings of victimisation and alienation, only 50 women out of 1 million Dutch Muslims wear the burka or the niqab.
"What the government is doing now is totally disproportionate to the number of women who actually wear the burka," said Ayhan Tonca, chairman of an umbrella group of Dutch Muslim organisations.
"The legislation we already have to protect people for security reasons is adequate," he added.
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