Dutch parliament approves limited ban on burqa, niqab

Source: Associated Press

By RAF CASERT and ALEKSANDAR FURTULA

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands has approved a limited ban on “face-covering clothing” in public places, including Islamic veils and robes such as the burqa and niqab but not the hijab, which covers only the hair. Firebrand far-right politician Geert Wilders had pushed for the ban for over a decade.

Parliament’s upper chamber made the final approval in a vote Tuesday.

800Wilders’ Freedom Party claimed the development as a major victory, while Senator Marjolein Faber-Van de Klashorst called it “a historical day because this is the first step to de-Islamize the Netherlands.”

“This is the first step and the next step is to close all the mosques in the Netherlands,” she said, building on Wilders’ anti-Islam rhetoric.

The Dutch law is described by the government as “religion-neutral,” and does not go as far as more extensive bans in neighboring countries like France and Belgium. It applies on public transport and in education institutions, health institutions such as hospitals, and government buildings.

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