Dutch burqa ban draws widespread criticism

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The burqa ban the cabinet announced today is drawing mostly negative reactions, both among Muslim organisations and political parties.

A large Turkish interest group, IOT, says the government hasn’t considered the ban’s consequences. “Women who currently only venture outside, or are allowed to go outside, wearing a burqa, will from now on stay home,” IOT chair Aydin Akkaya warns.

Green Left Party MP Tofik Dibi doesn’t understand why the government attaches such importance to the ban in the midst of an economic crisis: “Why track and fine a handful of people with a burqa, when people are deeply worried about their future and that of their children?”

Arie Slob, the parliamentary leader of the small Christian Union, also questioned the ban’s wisdom at a time of deep budget cuts: “The way the government of Mark Rutte tackles the crisis: by banning burqas. That’s not going to do the job,” Mr Slob said.

Leyla Çakir, who heads Muslim women’s group Al Nisa, says women should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to wear a burqa. “Self-determination is our top priority. Some women may now well decide to wear a burqa in defiance of the ban, but a number of women are now likely not to leave their home any longer.”

Following the announcement, Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies hailed the burqa ban as a decision “of inconceivable importance.” cl

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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