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Netherlands: Cabinet approves ban on Islamic veils in public areas ‘for security reasons’


SomaNet News Archive

(By Bonny Apunyu)

A partial ban on face-covering Islamic veils on public transport and in public areas such as schools and hospitals has been approved by the Dutch cabinet , The Guardian reported Friday.

“Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport,” after the cabinet backed a bill by the interior minister, Ronald Plasterk, the government said in a statement on Friday.

According to AFP, the ban would not apply to wearing the burqa or the niqab on the street, only for security reasons or “in specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen”, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

 “The bill does not have any religious background,” Dutch prime minister reportedly said. The proposal will be sent to a panel of legal advisers for assessment.The Dutch government reportedly said it had “tried to find a balance between people’s freedom to wear the clothes they want and the importance of mutual and recognisable communication”. It said the cabinet “sees no reason for a general ban that would apply to all public places”.

Meanwhile, the Guardian says a previous bill that proposed banning face-covering veils on the street will be withdrawn. It dated from Rutte’s previous government, which was supported by the anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders.