The Dutch cabinet approved a proposal to partially ban the Islamic veil covering the face on public transport and in public spaces such as schools and hospitals.
After the cabinet backed a bill by Home Secretary Ronald Plasterk, the government said in a statement on Friday: “Clothing covering the face will no longer be accepted in educational and health institutions, government buildings and public transport “.
The ban would not apply to wearing a burqa or niqab in the street, only for security reasons or “in specific situations where it is essential that people are seen”, the Dutch prime minister said, Mark Rutte, to journalists after a cabinet meeting. .
He said: âThe bill has no religious origin. The proposal will be sent to a panel of legal advisers for evaluation.
The government said it had “tried to strike a balance between people’s freedom to wear whatever clothes they want with the importance of mutual and recognizable communication.” He said the cabinet “sees no reason for a blanket ban that would apply to all public places.”
A previous bill that proposed to ban the veil covering the face in the street will be withdrawn. It dated from the previous government of Rutte, supported by the anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders.
It was agreed that a new bill would be developed by the coalition partners of Rutte’s VVD party and the PvdA party when they formed a coalition in 2012.
Those who flout the ban, if enforced, could be fined up to â¬ 405 (Â£ 288).
NOS, the public broadcaster, said that between 100 and 500 women in the Netherlands wore the burqa, most of them only occasionally.