Ban public servants wearing headscarves: poll

5th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 August 2005AMSTERDAM — A majority of the Dutch public wants a new law to ban public servants from wearing headscarves or "other Islamic attire", a new poll has found.

5 August 2005

AMSTERDAM — A majority of the Dutch public wants a new law to ban public servants from wearing headscarves or "other Islamic attire", a new poll has found.

Polling organisation TNS Nipo carried out the research for the latest edition of independent magazine Binnenlands Bestuur.

To date, a sizable majority in the Lower House of Parliament, De Tweede Kamer. has been opposed to banning religious expressions, such as the wearing of headscarves, by public servants.

The heads of municipal governments believe Islamic attire must be permitted as long as the person's face is not obscured. 

TNS Nipo questioned 433 adults — 292 government employees and 50 municipal aldermen — for the poll.

There has been a growing aversion in the Netherlands in the last two years to attire associated with Muslims. A similar poll in 2003 revealed a majority felt it was acceptable for public servants to wear such garb.

Some 57 percent of the public, for instance, has a fundamental objection to a teacher wearing a head scarf. The new poll also found 77 percent and 81 percent respectively against police officers and judges wearing a headscarf.

TNS NIPO found 63 percent are in favour of a legal ban on public servants wearing a head scarf. About 80 percent expressed agreement to a large extent for the view that government employments should be banned from wearing any Muslim attire — because wearing this attire is seen as a refusal to adapt to Dutch norms. 

Most political parties in Parliament said during a debate last year that the public servants could wear scarfs as long as long as this did not impact on their work, jeopardise safety or their impartiality.  The populist LPF and Independent right-wing MP Geert Wilders called for a headscarf ban for government workers.

[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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