Dutch to Ban Burqas in Schools and Government Offices: Media

January 23, 2008

Author: Foo Yun Chee

Source: The New York Times

Wire Service: Reuters


The Dutch government is set to impose a ban on the Muslim burqa in schools and government offices, media reported on Wednesday, in a retreat from the previous cabinet's plan for a general ban.

The cabinet has decided against a broad ban on burqas in public as that would violate the principle of freedom of religion, news agency ANP said, citing unnamed cabinet sources.

The Muslim community says only about 50 women wear the head-to-toe burqa or the niqab, a face veil that conceals everything but the eyes. They said a general ban would heighten alienation among the country's about 1 million Muslims.

An interior ministry spokesman said there was no final decision on the subject yet and the issue is expected to be discussed at the weekly cabinet meeting on Friday next week.