The Netherlands: Government Said to Back Off Burqa Ban

January 24, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The New York Times

Wire Service: Reuters

The government has decided it will not impose a general ban on the wearing of burqas and similar garments in public on security grounds, but will bar them and full-face veils at schools and for government workers, local news reports said. They said the government had concluded that a broad ban would violate the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion. About a million Muslims live in the Netherlands, and Muslim groups say just 50 to 100 women regularly wear a burqa. Geert Wilders, the right-wing leader of an anti-immigration party, sent a bill to Parliament last July proposing a ban on the burqa in public.