The Netherlands has – finally – banned the burqa and the niqaab. The bill was introduced by Geert Wilders no less than 13 years ago, accepted in parliament but never properly picked up for further handling (because what is democracy without bureaucracy?). This week the Dutch Senate finally took a vote and passed the law.
It is likely that the law will mostly be symbolic, it remains to be seen whether the law will be upheld in any significant way. The ban covers health care facilities, schools and public transportation – and only an estimated several hundred women in The Netherlands actually wear a burqa (covers the entire body, and hides the eyes behind a mesh) or niqaab (covers the entire body and leaves only the eyes visible).
Hijab (covers hair and neck) and chador (covers the entire but leaves the face visible) are still allowed.
Four establishment left-wing parties in the Senate voted against the bill. Those supporting it argued that even it is just a symbolic measure, it is a clear sign that Islam in this form has no place in our society as it prevents open and transparent interaction.