On Tuesday, the upper house of the Dutch parliament voted in favour of a face-veil ban which is applicable to places including public transport, government buildings, schools, and hospitals.
Banning Muslim women’s clothings — Burqa and Niqab — has been discussed in the parliament for many years. The face veil ban was passed by the lower house in 2016. In 2015, the advisors of Parliament said wearing a burqa or niqab was guaranteed by the constitutional right to religious freedom.
The face veil ban makes it illegal for citizens to cover their face. Wearing helmets inside government buildings is also banned. DutchNews.nl reported the fine of violating the law is €400. The ban does not apply on the streets.
Calling the day historic, Senator Marjolein Faber-Van de Klashorst said it was “the first day to de-Islamise the Netherlands.” “This is the first step and the next step is to close the mosques in the Netherlands”, Van de Klashorst said. Senator Ruard Ganzevoort of the Green Party said, “It is completely disproportionate and the only effect will be that many of these women will stay at home even more […] They will not have an opportunity to go to school.”
The Christian Democratic Appeal party’s minister Piet Hein Donner said, “Not everything for which you call on religious freedom, you can also do. This freedom must be limited in the public interest.” Independent Senate’s senator Henk ten Hoeve said, “This law will not change very much in practice, but gives a message that this form of Islam in our society actually does not fit, because it disrupts it.”
The Netherlands is a secular country, and according to reports, the number of Muslim women wearing a burqa or a niqab is between 200 to 400. Previously, the Danish parliament voted in favour of a similar face veil ban in May; it is scheduled to come under effect on August 1. France and Belgium had also introduced such bans.