The Netherlands introduces a ban on burka and nikab

Thursday 2 August 2018

The National Assembly in the Netherlands has by a large majority decided to introduce a ban on burka, nikab and other cover of the face of schools and hospitals.

The so-called burka ban also applies to public transport and public buildings, where there is also a ban on using helmets or otherwise covering the face.

The proposal for burka ban was first promoted 13 years ago by outer right politician Geert Wilders, who has repeatedly criticized Islam.

The House of Representatives of the Dutch National Assembly voted for such a ban in 2016, but it would take another three years before the decision in the upper house. It is expected that the ban will come into force next year.

How the prohibition is to be practiced and who will enforce it is highly unclear. One of the questions raised is whether bus drivers should deny passengers with nikab or burka access.

Lawyers are critical of the ban, and the opposition calls it symbolism because there are hardly more than 400 women carrying burka in the Netherlands.

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