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Home Dutch News Cabinet divide forces rethink on burka ban

Cabinet divide forces rethink on burka ban

Published on March 15, 2006

15 March 2006

AMSTERDAM — Dutch ministers have failed to agree a ban on the burka, the all-enveloping cloak worn by some Muslim women.

Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk (VVD) discussed a number of options with the relevant ministers on Tuesday, but none of the ideas received full backing. Verdonk was asked to rework her proposals, sources in The Hague said.

The Minister announced in October she was investigating whether wearing of the burka could be banned in specific situations. This was in response to a suggestion by Independent Conservative MP Geert Wilders.

Two government parties, the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Liberal (VVD), plus the populist LPF party and Independent MP Hilbrand Nawijn backed a motion tabled by Wilders in December for a ban on wearing the burka in public in the Netherlands.

Verdonk argued at the time it was unlikely a general prohibition would be legally possible. Instead, she proposed banning the burka in specific circumstances such as in education, healthcare and at other times or places on security grounds. Some models of burka even cover the wearer’s eyes.

Legal experts remain divided on whether it is possible to introduce even a limited ban. Government Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold has made it known he is concerned about the proposal, particularly in light of the freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution.

Muslim organisations have also voiced opposition to a ban and have pointed out very few people in the Netherlands wear the burka.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news