[QODLink]
Archive
Dutch mull ban on Muslim face veils
The Dutch government has said it will seek a way of banning the wearing of burqas and other Muslim face veils in public places, possibly becoming the first European country to impose such a ruling.
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2006 21:07 GMT
The cabinet would discuss imposing a ban next week
The Dutch government has said it will seek a way of banning the wearing of burqas and other Muslim face veils in public places, possibly becoming the first European country to impose such a ruling.

Friday's announcement comes at a time when the debate on such veils and whether they prevent Muslims from integrating has gathered momentum across Europe and drawn comments from leaders such as Britain's Tony Blair and Italy's Romano Prodi.
   
Last December Dutch parliamentarians voted in favour of a proposal by far-right politician Geert Wilders to outlaw face-coverings, partly on security grounds, and asked Rita Verdonk, the Immigration Minister, to examine the feasibility of such a ban.
   
Verdonk said the fact veils were worn for religious reasons could bring new legislation into conflict with Dutch religious freedom laws, but signalled the government would try to find a way around this.
   
"The cabinet finds the wearing of a burqa undesirable ... but cannot at present enforce a total ban," she said after a cabinet meeting, according to Dutch news agency ANP.

Cabinet to discuss
   
Existing legislation already limits the wearing of burqas and other total coverings in public transport or schools, Verdonk said, but the cabinet would discuss imposing as wide a ban as possible next week.
  
"The government will search for the possibility to provide a ban," her spokeswoman told Reuters.
   

"The cabinet finds the wearing of a burqa undesirable ... but cannot at present enforce a total ban"

Rita Verdonk,
Dutch Immigration Minister

The Muslim community estimates that only about 50 women in the Netherlands wear the head-to-toe burqa or the niqab, a face veil that conceals everything but the eyes.
   
Dutch Muslim groups have complained a burqa ban would only make the country's one million Muslims feel more victimised and alienated, regardless of whether they approve of burqas or not.
   
The Netherlands would be the first European state to impose a countrywide ban on Islamic face coverings, though other countries have already outlawed them in specific places.
   
In 2004, France banned overt religious symbols such as Muslim headscarves, large Christian crosses and Jewish skullcaps from schools, arguing they were contrary to its separation of church and state.
Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.