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Holland says no to burqa

Netherlands bans the burqa, says terrorists can hide in one.

November 18, 2006

The burqa row never ceases to stop, it seems. This time it is Holland which has taken the burqa issue head on. Holland is all set to become the first country in Europe to ban the burqa after the government announced plans to introduce legislation outlawing the head-to-toe Islamic garment.

With the Dutch cabinet declaring that that the head dress posed a terrorist threat as it prevents the wearers' face being identified, the ban is likely to extend to all face-covering veils and prevent anyone appearing in public with covered facial features.

The hardliner minister for immigration, Rita Verdonk, (aka Iron Rita) has openly and in clear terms expressed her dislike of the burqa, which she believes aids and abets the repression of women. She went ahead and termed it a danger to the country's security, adding that the head dress was undesirable "for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens".

The Ministers in the Holland Cabinet held extensive deliberations and concluded that a ban should be introduced, but that it would be against constitutional law. However, Rita Verdonk said she had found a loophole that had been given cabinet support. She said an existing ban on the wearing of integral motorcycle helmets could be extended to cover the burqa.

Meanwhile, quite expectedly Muslim groups denounced the decision. Terming it a ridiculous overreaction, they said no one who has bad things in their minds would wear a burqa. He added that the number of people wearing a burqa in Holland numbered only 30.

The ban is expected to ring up more debates on the issue and may also invite international attention to the issue.


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