On Tuesday, the Dutch Upper House of Parliament issued a ban in Netherlands, which has now joined the other European countries that have already banned burqas, niqab, and other face-covering veils inside specific public places. These types of shrouds are still allowed on public streets. For anyone calling foul, wondering if burqas and niqab are being singled out, such is not said to be the case, according to most officials. Parliament included any and all types of articles that can cover one’s face. Other items banned are ski masks and motor helmets — basically anything obscuring a person’s identity. Head scarves are not listed in types of coverings being banned, as CNN reports, due to a person’s face still remaining visible.
France, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium are the other European countries who have previously passed this burqa ban into law. In France, officials in Cannes attempted to go one step further in the banning of such attire back in 2016, venturing to issue a ban on the burkini as well. For those unfamiliar with this type of clothing, it is a women’s swim wear which covers all of a female’s body, much like the casual burqa. This ban, which occurred during the wake of terror attacks, was overruled, as reported by CNN in one of their past news articles.
This new law in the Netherlands was passed and given 40 to 35 House votes. Those involved in the passing of this ban, or those who approve of it in general, state that the reasoning is purely security based. With people remaining easily identifiable, it is believed that safety in these areas will improve. Geert Wilders, a political figure for the far-right Freedom Party, has been a long-time proponent of this ban. He has been campaigning for the decision for quite some time, and recently expressed his excitement that the ban was passed, via Twitter. However, his particular hashtags were seemingly less about general safety concerns, and more geared toward ridding the public of a specific population.
“Finally, 13 years after a majority in the Dutch Parliament voted in favour of my motion to ban the burqa, it became law yesterday! #stopislam #deislamize #freedom https://t.co/N6R3qgV0mC”
The law may become a hindrance, say critics of this ban. Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Annelies Moors at the University of Amsterdam cautions journalists that she believes the ban may inevitably cause some Muslim women to avoid any public places where this law is active. This is a potential hindrance in areas such as schools and other government buildings, or even hospitals.