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Dutch government moves step closer to banning veil

Dutch government moves step closer to banning veil

The Dutch Cabinet moved a step closer Friday to banning the burqa, making good on an election promise that is largely symbolic but has broad public support.

Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen said the Cabinet agreed on plans to ban the head-to-toe Islamic gown along with other forms of face-covering clothing including ski masks. The legislation must still be approved by both houses of the Dutch Parliament, a process that could take months. “We are confident we have a majority,” Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies said.

Once seen as one of the world’s most tolerant nations, the Netherlands has turned increasingly conservative in recent years and is pushing immigrants more to fully assimilate into mainstream Dutch society. Anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders welcomed the decision in a tweet as “fantastic news.”

Like neighboring Belgium, the Dutch government cited security concerns as a reason for the ban and framed it as a move to safeguard public order and allow all people to “fully participate in society”. “People must be able to look one another in the eye,” Verhagen said.

The Dutch decision came despite criticism of the ban from independent advisory panel the Council of State, which reportedly suggested it could amount to an attack on freedom of religion. Verhagen denied ignoring the advice and said ministers took it into account when laying out the reasons underpinning the legislation. The government is confident that by citing public order concerns, the legislation will not breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Leyla Cakir, head of Muslim women’s organization Al Nisa, said she was surprised and shocked by the decision. “You are taking away women’s right of self-determination, and it is all based on fear,” she said.

But in a statement announcing the decision, the government said it was helping women. “Having to wear a burqa or niqab in public goes against equality of men and women,” the government said. “With this legislation, the Cabinet is removing a barrier to these women participating in society.”

Associated Press, 27 January 2012

See also “Ministers vote for Dutch ‘burqa ban’”, RNW, 27 January 2012

A ban on the veil was part of the deal the VVD and CDA made with Wilders in September 2010, in exchange for his party’s support for their coalition government. However, it would be unfair to accuse Maxime Verhagen of adopting this policy out of mere political expendency. He has a record of Islamophobia going back some years.


  1. This is outrageous! What a crock of shit!

  2. creeping in. like an insidious infection.

  3. Oh, Pot and prosteturion are OK, and not demeaning to women, but the veil is? Assholes.

  4. I know many women that choose to wear a veil, this is an attack on Islam. I would rather wear a veil than be ostracized and exploited because I am a woman… Smdh…

  5. This appears to be right wing pandering at its worst.

  6. Awful…if these women want to wear a burqa..that should be their right…..they should not have to wear one if a ‘ man ‘ says so..and should not be told by ‘men’ not to wear one !!!!!!!this is disgusting !!!!!!!

  7. Shame on them! They tell lies in order to make laws that suit themselves!!!!!

  8. A large issue is the fact that 1. You can’t identify yourself if you wear one (it could be anyone under there) and considering that the netherlands has a large accessible, public transportation system that is kinda a large problem. That said there arent many burqa wearers in the netherlands.

  9. The burqa and veil are security issues as Muslim terrorists both female and MALE have worn burqas to conceal explosive vests. Male Muslim terrorists have also disguised themselves in “veils” to conceal their identity.Better the government acts now then wait until innocent lives are lost.

  10. I do not know if I agree with this. In this day and age we have cameras everywhere and it is making it very hard to get away with some crimes. We should all have a right to wear full body coverings so that when we commit crimes we can remain discreet and undetected. Plus the loose clothing allows one to carry objects one needs to commit such crimes. Think of the benefits for some school students who can send in a friend to take a test they have not properly studied for. Or getting someone to take you place at your job for a day without taking leave. One can dine and dash without much of a chance of getting caught. Suppose you have an ugly daughter and a pretty one. The pretty one can court and you can have the suitor marry the ugly one in her place. Therefore assuring both young women a good husband. In sports we could root for numbers rather than people allowing otherwise famous people to interact without the problems that come with fame. I could go on and on with the benefits of full body coverings. I think they are a great idea as they have a positive impact on personal freedom and the choices one has the ability to make.

  11. @Hera:

    Anders Brevik dressed as a police officer. According to your logic we should ban police uniforms as well.

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