Dutch gov't to ban Muslim face veils next year

Violations of new law will carry fines of up to $510, says interior affairs ministry

[Image for illustrative purposes only]

[Image for illustrative purposes only]

The Dutch minority government plans to ban Muslim face veils such as burqas and other forms of clothing that cover the face from next year.

The ban would make the Netherlands, where 1 million out of 17 million people are Muslim, the second European Union country to ban the burqa after France, and would apply to face-covering veils if they were worn in public.

"People should be able to look at each other's faces and recognise each other when they meet," the interior affairs ministry said in a statement Friday.

The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing.

Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which helps give the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition a majority in parliament, has set considerable political store on getting the so-called burqa ban passed into law.

Few Muslim women in the Netherlands wear the Arabic-style niqabs which leave the eyes uncovered and Afghan-style burqas that cover the face with a cloth grid.

Academics estimate the numbers at between 100 and 400, whereas Muslim headscarves which leave the face exposed are far more common.

The coalition has agreed to submit a new law to parliament next week stipulating that offenders would be fined up to 390 euros ($510), the ministry said.

Verhagen said the ban was intended to ensure that a tradition of open communication cherished in Dutch society was upheld, and to prevent people from concealing their identity in order to do harm.

Wilders, who condemned Dutch Queen Beatrix for covering her hair with a scarf on a recent royal visit to the Middle East, said on Twitter: "Great news: burqa ban will finally come to the Netherlands! Proposal approved by ministers' council. Excellent!"

Maurits Berger, professor of Islam in the contemporary West at Leiden University, said only a few hundred women wear the full face veil in the Netherlands.

"This is highly symbolic, it's part of the deal made with PVV," Berger said. "We are in the middle of a crisis. There are worse things to tackle."

The minority coalition is at odds with the Freedom Party over where to make further budget cuts, and the scale of the cuts needed.

The face-veil law, which still needs to win approval in both houses of parliament, excludes clothing worn for security reasons such as that worn by firemen and hockey players, as well as party clothing such as Santa Claus or Halloween costumes.

The ban does not apply to religious places, such as churches and mosques, nor to passengers on airplanes or en route via a Dutch airport, the interior ministry said.

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Posted by: Arabian_Knight

I think we have every right to question and challenge any law that gets imposed on a population, whether its an Alcohol Ban or a Burqa Ban. We CANNOT say that oh its their country so they are entitled to bring out any laws and we just have to follow. If you are a citizen of that country you have the right to challenge the laws and get answers to the question WHY!

Posted by: AlGhazi

Let them ban Islamic clothing, it only hurts them.

France banned it, even though most Muslim women in France dont wear it, it has resulted in the number of foreign Muslims travelling to Paris to shop dropping. The luxury shop retailers have been complaining about lower sales.

Whilst western economies fall apart, they are wasting time banning clothing that is hardly worn by people.

Posted by: Desert Rebel

Alghazi...if it`s so unimportant then why complain when it`s banned and why have it at all?

Posted by: Omar

Each country has its own rules that must be followed. The Netherlands decided so, it's their right and people have to choose, either go or don't go there. Exactly like when a headhunter approaches a Dutch to go to Saudi or Kuwait where there is no alcohol and women cannot drive or work or must cover up (Saudi Arabia). The Dutch applicant might accept to take the plane there or might not. Same with Women who want to go to Holland! Isn't i that easy to understand?!

Posted by: Kroner Derek

Well Said Omar. I hope rest of the folks understood this and not turn this into a religious thing. People just have to create a controversy.

Posted by: RaOne

I am a Muslim and my opinion is that our religion requires us to obey the law and lead a life that does not cause problems to others.

If the law becomes too suppressive for ones choice and one cannot live the life he/she has chosen, then we have to migrate.

This is the example of our Prophet (pbuh) who left his place of birth (Mecca) as the majority of the people there where inventing laws that were more and more supressive to the followers of Islam.

Prophet's (pbuh) companion first made migration to Africa where a Chirstian king was more accomodative. And then they migrated to Medina where the people welcome them.

Migration is not an easy choice for any one, but then Islam has always recommended to take middle path, and allow its follower to even practice un-preferred actions if this is not outright prohibited.

Posted by: Freedom&Logic

@RaOne..This is basically hearsay from over 1400 years ago... It doesn't sound obligatory to me at all.

Posted by: RaOne

@krishna....that was lifestyle even in Europe till very recently...
And they still consider that as their cultured and civilized stage of society.

Respect and high morals are not sign of backwardness.

Restraining ones eyes from seeing whats not yours is not backwardness.

Posted by: krishna

so backward

Posted by: UMMPA

Each and every country having own Law.It's should be respected.
But The world always against ISLAM. That's the reason I would say world human wakeup and started to Learning Islam.the results are reverting to ISLAM.

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