Dutch MPs are currently advocating for a ban on the Burka (Islamic full apparel) in public areas including schools, hospitals and public transport facilities. The niqab veil which totally covers the face with the exception of the eyes, has also been included in the proposed restriction, together with other face coverings such as helmets and ski-masks. The Dutch Senate will need to approve the bill for it to turn into law. Proponents of the approach mention the salience of identification in public zones as a key motive. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling party says that the draft proposal is “religious-neutral”.
Religion activist Karima Rahmani however asserts that persons should have the freedom to wear what they want without government interference. Reporting to German media franchise ARD, he dubs the law as a “disturbing offensive against the free will of expression”.
Netherlands had initially brought the proposal to the house, but it failed to garner much support as it was deemed to have an unnecessarily wide-reaching impact. Nonetheless, it is salient to note that Belgium, Switzerland and France have already passed similar laws.