Why this story matters:
The bill, which got a majority from the ruling coalition (44 to 31 votes), is the final hurdle before a partial burqa ban becomes written in Dutch law. The bill outlines a legal ban on wearing clothing that covers the face or only shows the eyes in public spaces.
The idea behind the law is a song that has already been sung.
Senators supporting the bill argue that the burqa hinders communication or security. However, there have been countless examples of people who manage to solve the security and communication 'issues' that arise from covering one's face. This argument simply does not hold.
Opponents of the ban (the D66 party, GroenLinks, PvdA and the Socialist Party) say there is "no added value" to it, and that it is "counterproductive".
During a seminar I attended at the European Youth Event in Strasbourg last month, which focused on the burqa ban, the panel was composed of mainly women. There was one male among the 4 panelists. All three women were Muslim feminists, and were visibly exhausted of making their case for religious freedom. Hanane Karimi, a French sociologist, said something that -- despite its simplicity -- beautifully summed up the case against a burqa ban:
"You can't emancipate someone against their will."
For Hanane Karimi, Ruqaiya Harris and Aquilah Sandhu -- the three panelists -- repression is not a solution. But in the Netherlands, it is still being considered.
Details from the story:
- Dutch senators passed a bill (44 to 31 votes) that would partially ban burqas, notably in public spaces.
- This is the final hurdle before the bill officially gets passed as a law.
- “The bill proposes a legal ban on wearing clothing that completely covers the face, or only shows the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in government institutions and hospitals.”
- Four of the five ruling parties in the governing coalition were in favor of the bill.
- Implementing the ban would mean handing out fines of about 400 euros.
- France was the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public spaces in 2011.