Dutch government approves burqa ban

Dutch government approves burqa ban

The Dutch government Friday approved a ban on face-covering clothing, such as a burqa, a niqab, a forage cap, or a full face helmet, reported Xinhua.

People going on the streets with one of these now risk being fined for up to 380 euros ($499).

"It is very important that people in an open society meet each other in an open way," Minister of Interior Affairs Liesbeth Spies said after the cabinet meeting.

The burqa ban was already part of the government coalition agreement. In September 2011, the proposal was sent for advice to the council of state, which issued a negative opinion.

The council considered the proposal contrary to the prohibition of freedom of religion and contrary to the standards of non-discrimination. The government's main advisory body also wondered whether a burqa ban was too heavy a measure.

However, the cabinet neglected the advice and claimed the European Convention on Human Rights offers the opportunity to limit religious freedom when it is in the interest of the public order.

"We think we have to make a legitimate exception to the freedom of religion," Spies said.
In April last year, France introduced a burqa ban and became the first European country to ban people from concealing their faces in public in many manner.