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Holland's grand unveiling
by Amin George Forji
2006-11-20 09:51:32
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In recent years, Europe has generally been uneasy with Muslim veils, yet Holland is stepping forward as the first country in the continent to outlaw them in all public places and semi-public places, such as the streets and on public transport. An official cabinet statement on the issue stipulated that the burqa poses a serious "terrorist threat" because it conceals the wearer's face from being identified and is "undesirable for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens".

Commenting on the move on national television, NOS, Rita Verdonk, the country's hard-line integration and immigration minister, popularly known as "Iron Rita", explained that the new legislation will not only outlaw the burqa, but also all similar clothing that typically covers the entire body from head to toe, especially when concealing the face. Verdonk says that the whole cabinet backs the legislation and its implementation. The police will be ready to enforce the ban on public transport and in educational milieu because it impedes communication.

"The Cabinet finds it undesirable that face-covering clothing, including the burqa, is worn in public places for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens. From a security standpoint, people should always be recognizable and from the standpoint of integration, we think people should be able to communicate with one another, but also the burqa aids and abets the repression of women," stated Verdonk.

Ayhan Tonca , the leader of the main Muslim group in the country, CMO, says he was very surprised by the cabinet's decision because fewer than 30 women wear the burqa in Holland. He further denounced the move as a ridiculous overreaction, "It is a big law for a small problem. I do not think people who have bad things in their minds would wear a burqa."

Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen, a member of the opposition Labour Party, told reporters that although he wished that the burqa could disappear altogether, he wondered if a total ban was the right way to go about it. "From a viewpoint of integration and communication, naturally it's very bad," he told reporters. "You can't speak with each other if you can't see each other, so in that sense, I'd say myself the less it's worn, the better."

The Dutch city of Utrecht has already cut welfare benefits to unemployed Muslim women who insist on wearing the burqa during interviews, saying they wear it to scare employers from hiring them. Six per cent of Holland's 16 million people are Muslim.

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trol2006-11-20 23:20:05
"fewer than 30 women wear the burqa in Holland"

ehmm. no.

Sand2006-11-21 08:46:24
Although I am sympathetic on antagonisms to any religious policy which demeans either men, women or any other form of life I doubt the burqa is the only possibility for disguising individuals intent on criminal activity.

Asa2006-11-21 09:30:30
I know that joke shops around the world sell those glasses with a large plastic nose and big bushy eyebrows attached. The perfect disguise according to Smiffy...

Sand2006-11-21 10:16:20
I wonder if religions would take offence of a new one was started requiring women to wear the plastic nose and bushy eyebrows.

Rinso2006-11-23 09:38:12
As usual, the press concentrates on the "hot" topic, i.e. the burka. In fact it is just a generalization for an excisting rule that already forbids balaclava's etc. in public. All it does is disallow exceptions.

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