Friday, January 27, 2012

Ministers vote for Dutch ‘burqa ban’

Ministers vote for Dutch ‘burqa ban’

27 January 2012

People wearing burqas, balaclavas or all-in-one motorbike helmets in public in the Netherlands will soon face fines. On Friday, government ministers voted to outlaw all clothing which covers the face.

Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies said what has become known as ‘the burqa ban’ was “incredibly important”. She went on to say that she found it vital that in an open society people’s contact with each other should also be open.

The government said earlier that the European Treaty of Human Rights allows member states to regulate the freedom of religion in the interest of public order. In the past two years France and Belgium issued similar bans on clothing that hides the face.

People who dress up in disguise for traditional Dutch festivities like carnival or Saint Nicholas need not fear the law, the government said.

Financial crisis
Political reactions to the cabinet decision varied across the political spectrum. Geert Wilders, whose party supports the minority rightwing government, tweeted in elation 'Great news! At last the Netherlands has a burqa ban! Cabinet passes proposal. Great!'.

From the other side of the house, opposition Green Left MP Tofik Dibi put the measure against the background of the financial crisis in Europe. He said in a Twitter message dripping with irony, 'Yo cabinet! While people are unsure about their own future and their kids', lets focus on fining a handful of burqa wearers...'

Leader of the small evangelical Christian Union, Arie Slob said, also in a tweet: 'That's how the Rutte cabinet wants to face the crisis: by banning the burqa. That will help. #unemployment #500,000 #dosomething'. RNLW

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Holland split over burqa ban (2006)

Opposition condemns Dutch government's 'stunt' in election dominated by race and religion
Jamie Doward
The Observer
19 November 2006

A bitter debate about multiculturalism was raging in Holland yesterday following Friday's pledge by the leading party in the coalition government to introduce legislation banning the wearing of burqas in public if it is re-elected on Wednesday.

The pledge by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party to outlaw the full-length veils has caused uproar among the Muslim community and civil rights groups. It has also shone a light on the shifting politics of a country long considered one of Europe's most welcoming for immigrants. However, since the murder in 2004 of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim fundamentalist, the country has become increasingly polarised on racial and religious issues.

Integration and Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk justified the move on security grounds. 'People should always be recognisable, and from the standpoint of integration we think people should be able to communicate with one another,' she said. 'The Cabinet finds it undesirable that face-covering clothing - including the burqa - is worn in public places for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens.' She said the ban would also apply to headgear such as ski masks and full-faced helmets.

If it should pass in parliament, women would be barred from wearing burqas in a variety of places, including schools, trains, courts and even the street.

But the plan was condemned by Muslims as an overreaction and by the opposition Labour Party as an election stunt that will breed resentment among Holland's one million Muslims.

'This is a big law for a small problem,' said Ayhan Tonca of the Dutch Muslim organisation, CMO. She estimated that as few as 30 women in the Netherlands wear a burqa and warned the law could be unconstitutional if it is interpreted as targeting Muslims. In the past, a majority of the Dutch parliament has said it would approve a ban on burqas, but opinion polls suggest public enthusiasm for such a move has dissipated recently.

Labour MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem said: 'I'm very much worried that in the Muslim community many people will see this as Islam bashing.'

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen said he would like to see burqas disappear, though he did not advocate a ban: 'From the perspective of integration and communication, it is obviously very bad because you can't see each other, so the fewer the better. But actually hardly anybody wears one. The fuss is much bigger than the number of people concerned.'

Racial and religious issues have become key platforms on which the election is being fought. Yesterday as Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and the CDA campaigned in the southern city of Tilburg, Labour leader Wouter Bos addressed a rally in a borough of Amsterdam that is home to large immigrant community.

In a clear bid to distance himself from the CDA's increasingly tough stance on immigration, Bos has said he will sign a general pardon for thousands of asylum seekers who have been living in the Netherlands for years, despite their applications having been rejected.

According to polls, Balkenende's party is on target to become the largest party in the 150-seat lower house of parliament when voters go to the polls this week. Labour is trailing in second place while Verdonk's Liberals, part of Balkenende's ruling coalition, is fighting the Socialist Party for third place. Balkenende, who has been in power since 2002 and is campaigning on his economic credentials, remains the most popular choice for the next Prime Minister, ahead of Bos.

The government's decision to speak out against burqas echoes comments made by former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who prompted a national debate on the issue when he urged Muslim women to remove full facial veils when talking to him, arguing they were a visible statement of separation and of difference.

The issue has also been hotly debated in other European countries. France has passed a law banning religious symbols, including Muslim headscarves, from schools. Some German states have banned teachers in public schools from wearing headscarves while Italy has outlawed face coverings. Gruniad


Anonymous said...

Here we go again, back to square one.

Nice eye liner by the way.

Himself said...

It says Muslims face discrimination in employment, education and religious freedom for wearing particular forms of dress, and criticizes moves to ban Muslims veils in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain,

No kidding!

Try wearing something that is acceptable to the society in which they live.

It's self discrimination with a capital ess, poor downtrodden Moslems. As you say here we go again!

The report recommends that national anti-discrimination bodies be set up and greater efforts be made to monitor discrimination on the basis of religion.

I haven't the words for that pearl. Stroll on!

Same as I haven't the words for the latest Met/McCann nonsense. Stroll on again!

How are you Chuck? It's been a scrappy old day today, but I did get to see me old Mammy.

Himself said...

Nice eye liner by the way.

She reminds me of the theatre assistant when I had my vasectomy. She had eyes to fall in love with.

Laid there all shaven, nervous, and then she took the forceps with a big ball of something soaked in some freezing liquid and splashed it all around.

I felt about ten years old.

Anonymous said...

"One reason cited for banning the wearing of burqas has nothing to do with religion or female oppression, but rather security."

Himself said...


Various opinions.

Anonymous said...

Good morning H,

Explanation why I’m not a supporter of Wilders.

As a said a few? years ago (where’s the time go?), Wilders is right when it comes to Islam, but he is no good at governing. I agree with Teddy, against religion in the public square. Pity the Dutch government and opposition parties don’t pick up the signals from a part of the Dutch population, after all Wilders is representing them. Ban the burqa for example. Alas, we’re back to square one and Wilders and his supporters become more extreme.

I often have the feeling my comments don’t cover the subject exactly. Can you learn Dutch please :)

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

As I said, typo

Himself said...

Good morning Maren.

Hannity and Wilders, a match made in heaven, and Billo to be bridesmaid?

I bet the Right, the far right, and the extreme right (80% of the population) will make Wilders feel like he's visiting royalty, not least after his 'poor surrounded Israel' spiel, and of course the Christian Judea thing, those Yankies just love those Christian Judea values. Might is right!

As for all you say, I couldn't agree more, I could no more vote for such a far right candidate as I could the man in the moon.

But Wilders is where he is today because he fills a niche and addresses peoples genuine concerns, something that moderates everywhere, not just in the Netherlands, fail to do.

More tea, then it's the dentist again I'm afraid. Such is life.

Anonymous said...

Stepan Kerkyasharian, the head of the Community Relations Commission of NSW, highlighted the concerns of the Muslim community about the outcome of Wilders' tour.

Kerkyasharian said it was important other groups that may have their own agenda do not try to use his visit as an opportunity to vent their own venom.