By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The Dutch Cabinet voted to draft a bill to enforce a ban on wearing the Islamic burqa in various government buildings and institution. Citing what were described as security concerns, the government in a statement declared “Face-covering clothing will in [the] future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport.”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated to journalists: “The bill does not have any religious background.”
The government’s statement further stated that it “tried to find a balance between people’s freedom to wear the clothes they want and the importance of mutual and recognizable communication.” It will however send the draft bill to the Council of State, the highest constitutional court, for review. Thereafter, Parliament will debate the bill and mull drafting statutory law.
A previous bill calling for a complete ban of the burqa in public places was set aside.
Those held in violation could be fined up to €405.
Likely an influencing factor, France legislated a burqa ban in 2010 which was ultimately upheld by the European Court of Human Rights. The court rejected claims the law breached religious freedom. Switzerland and Belgium passed similar statutes.
Dutch state broadcasting company NOS claimed that only one hundred to five hundred women in The Netherlands wore burqas with most only occasionally.
It would be curious to see how such a ban will be enforced. Security matters aside what would serve as a legitimate government function of requiring faces to be shown in government buildings or other institutions?
Yet the debate tends to focus on religious freedom. An interesting constitutional challenge, if such an issue comes to the forefront in the United States, would be an aggrieved person claiming a right to privacy. Those choosing to wear a burqa often cite modesty as a significant factor. To some it might seem disingenuous to under penalty of arrest require in people to wear undergarments in public for the purpose of legislated modesty and then deny modesty to those who wish to cover other body parts.
Nevertheless with the European example, it is hard to accept that such laws are drafted out of anything other than worry of Islam in those nations.
By Darren Smith
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.
96 thoughts on “Dutch Cabinet Backs Partial Burqa Ban”
Why are so many here afraid of the anonymity of others? If police cannot insist on ID in a public square (in most states), why are disguises so feared? I can apply geometric shapes to my face to defeat face-recognition, as I have every right to do, but not by the opinion of many posters here. I was educated by nuns in outrageous habits, complete with veils, and never heard of “safety concerns”, not that another person’s safety practices are any of your business anyway. The government has no right to demand my ID, by any methodology, as I walk the public thoroughfares. Deal with it.
Most states have laws against wearing masks in public which is a legitimate law enforcement measure. Nuns never covered their faces by the way and thus they complied with the laws. You should also know that every citizen MUST give their correct name upon demand by the police too. That is hardly a police state and those are the rulings by the SCOTUS too.
This is where we differ. It is a religious issue. Not a safety issue. Bettykath emulated a stopped clock by giving a reasonable accommodation to this religious practice. I would prefer to err on the side of facilitating religious practice.
Plus most Muslim women are extraordinarily ugly which is why they are always kidnapping and raping women from other religions. So covering up their misshapen mugs is a win/win.
To paraphrase that famous singer from a husband beating family who once put it “Put a burqa on it….cause you don’t want to hit it….yeah!”
I think we should make extraordinary efforts to respect the religious practices of those we don’t agree with. This extends to dress and diet and other mundane activities
Respectfully disagree, Trooper. There is one thing to respect religious practices even ones that seem idiotic or unfathomable. I have no problem with giving that respect, bemusedly sometimes but whatever. The other thing is to bend ALL of society into a pretzel to accommodate those beliefs. Especially those beliefs that may endanger the security of everyone around them.
No one is endangered if Mormons have magic underwear or Jews and Muslims don’t want to eat pork. Sikh turbans are not harming anyone. No one cares. They can do what they want in their personal and private lives.
Part of living in a society, immigrating, commingling with other cultures in society, is that the laws and rules of the main society as a whole are observed. You can still have a religion….but you must live IN the society that is and follow the laws that be. From rules of the road to social conventions. You don’t get to do what ever you want whenever you want. You don’t get to dictate to all of society that they should accommodate YOUR beliefs and abandon their own and compromise their own security. If you cannot follow the rules. Go somewhere else.
In Western Society, it is not considered normal or good to wear masks in public and hide your identity behind disguises. Try it and see. Wear a mask daily for a week and see how far you get in daily life, cashing checks, shopping and other mundane activities. It won’t work out well, I can guarantee you.
You can’t wear a Donald Duck mask to take your driver’s license photo. That defeats the entire point of identification. You can’t wear a KKK hood or a burqa either for such purposes. When we are forced to be in a public place, such as an airport or court house or school, the safety of everyone and the ability to know who is who and identify those who may be doing wrong or dangerous things. trumps the desire of people to wear masks, disguises or even burqas.
It is NOT a religious issue. It is a safety and societal norm issue.
I almost always agree with you Dust Bunny Queen but on this we have to differ. I think we should make extraordinary efforts to respect the religious practices of those we don’t agree with. This extends to dress and diet and other mundane activities. You have to defend the more outré practices of religions you do not agree with if you expect to have the dictates of your religion. Fair is fair. If the Mormons want to wear funky underwear and the Jews want to hang shoe laces from their pants and the Muslims want to cover up their women than that should be fine in a nation that accepts freedom of religion.
If they are worried about them being violent criminals or thieves you can follow them around the store like you would do with black people. See. Problem solved.
If THIS is ok in public
Then THIS is too. RIght?
So I would agree that we should offer the same respect to a Muslim wearing a burqa that we would to a Jew wearing a yarmulke or a Sikh wearing a ceremonial dagger
I understand that the wearing of the burqa is a religious symbol just like the others you mention…>HOWEVER…..the one disguises who you are and makes it impossible to know if you are a man or a woman, if you are someone with bad intent or not. Practice your religion, but not at the expense of the safety of the rest of the public.
Obscuring their identity creates an issue of public safety. MY right to safety trumps their right to wear the symbols of slavery and subjugation that hide their identities.
As someone said one of the main purposes, I would say the sole purpose, of government is to ensure the safety of its citizens. This is NOT a religious issue since the covering of the face by ANY means is the activity that is being regulated and ONLY in public areas, such as schools, airports, hospitals etc.
It is obviously wrong. We should not inhibit the free exercise of religion in public. Of course once again this is Holland and you know that they are horribly prejudiced against the freedom of religion.
And it is also pretty funny that some find the idea of a person in a burqa terrifying because s(he) could be hiding a weapon – but they’re all for everyone being able to open or conceal carry their gun(s) at Target.
What’s with that?
Of course you do realize that this case is in Holland.
They also profile those who refuse to wear wooden shoes.
Judging by a few more of the comments here, I don’t think there would be much objection if we outlawed hoodies and gloves and big hats – all obvious attempts to obscure an evil intent. And women shouldn’t be allowed to disguise their sex – no more trousers for them. And then we can say goodbye to little kids wearing masks on Halloween (and whatever you do Johnnie, don’t go into Mr. Randy’s store with your Spiderman mask on. He’ll shoot you dead.).
I’d say the odds are pretty good that you will find even all those efforts insufficient in assuring your safety. Soon you’ll be calling for everyone to tape their government issued photo ID on their forehead.
You people live on fear.
Check your reading comprehension there buddy. I specifically said that we should respect the religious practices of these Muslim women. Bettykath offered a common sense practical solution that accommodates the freedom of religion.
Much the same as a simple common sense solution that bakers can not refuse to sell a generic cake but can refuse to make a specially decorated cake for a same sex couple. A simple easy and common sense solution.
Of course you will only sign on to doing that for the Muslims. Not Christians or Mormons or Jews.
That is how the Left rolls.
Tyger Gilbert, I agree with you. Legalize public nudity, then we could talk about burqas. Here in Oregon, public nudity is (only recently) banned in most places now except when it’s political speech.
So, if wearing a burqa is political speech, Islam is not a religion and does not deserve religious respect.
But we all knew it isn’t really a religion already.
Reminds me of an old Woody Allen routine, where he was in the South and surrounded by a group of KKK. He said he could tell the leader cuz he was wearing a contour sheet. We need to inject some humor into this. When they understand how stupid it looks and how stupid this nonsense of ‘locking up’ their women is, then perhaps they’ll back off. Perhaps not.
It’s pretty interesting that the regulars here who so fiercely object to government regulation have no objection to this kind of regulation….and this issue strays into religious freedom which has been so strongly defended recently.
I guess there is quite a bit of elasticity in our regard for religious freedom.
Or maybe….it’s just WHICH religion we’re talking about.
Burka haram! 🙂 the name of a club I’ve been meaning to found…
How does one even know there’s a woman under there, and whichever sex the person under it is or gender IDs he/she may claim, how much weaponry?
And to me, the aesthetics of burkas are those of any shroud, so they give me the creeps. Also, I’m what I think of as a 60s feminist, so I consider burkas to be oppression (yes I know covered women often feel superior). And a bit nutty.
My instinctual reaction is I’m looking at walking dead or a criminal. And frankly, that’s about the status of women in many Islamic cultures. I just cannot get with the program, and I do not have to, thank God.
Trooper York said…
Because the hard left will only make accommodations with the Muslims. That is how they roll.
My bet would be 98% of those lefties live no where near Muslim Arabs in any quantity or know any well if at all. Talk’s cheap. They’re chumps with their “theory” crap.
Masks of any kind that serve only an individual’s purpose have no place in public facilities, banks, airports, or anywhere where security is a concern…and that includes almost every where today due to the lunacy. I want to see the ax wielder or the AK guy coming. I can handle that…and today is what today has become.
I am even more offended by the fact that Niqabs or Burquas represent subjugation of women per se. I tend to like women better than most men, what can I say? 🙂
I’m seeing more Niqabs where I live and I don’t like it. Used to one or so once a week, not it is one nearly every day. Not sure what new ethnic group has moved in recently. If I see an apparent “lady” that is 6 feet tall with big feet wearing one I am going to watch her (him) closely.
Most of you know I live in an Arab Muslim community and generally no one wears more than a hijab and some older ladies the chador. The younger women who wear a hijab above a tight tee shirt and tight leggings indicate the “rules” are relaxing locally and I’d be forced to intervene if some schmuck tried to harm any of the young women because of their lack of niqab or chador, and damn it I am too old for that….and know what is involved as I have actually done it in the past when a neighbor’s wife and daughters were harassed by a moron for lack of “modesty” for lacking a chador in the wife’s case and lack of a hihab in the daughters’ cases. It was not a pleasant fight that I came to late, but promised the loon he’d need 911/EMT for his next aggression toward anyone….since he’d filed assault & battery charges against the husband who initially intervened forcefully. Ne moved away shortly after our “talk.” I’ve been to the weddings, Arab and Muslim in nature, of two of the daughters, and saw more liberated Muslim women that anything else. Judi & I were treated like near celebrities. The sword dances were quite interesting and pre-date Islam in Arab cultures.
As hard as it is for me to believe I have to agree with bettykath. She offers a common sense alternative to a problem of accommodating a religious scruple in modern society.
I respect other religions practices and rituals. So I would agree that we should offer the same respect to a Muslim wearing a burqa that we would to a Jew wearing a yarmulke or a Sikh wearing a ceremonial dagger.
I just wish that same respect that bettykath offers to Muslims would be offered to religious people who do not want to participate in same sex marriage ceremonies.
But I know that can never be. Because the hard left will only make accommodations with the Muslims. That is how they roll.
Darren wrote: “Security matters aside what would serve as a legitimate government function of requiring faces to be shown in government buildings or other institutions?”
Dumb question. The #1 function of government is to protect it’s citizens lives. It’s like asking “Security matters aside, what interest does the government have in preventing people from bringing bombs into government buildings?”
Randyjet: Isn’t the burqa just a longer form of the ski mask?
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