Burqa ban: undemocratic and impracticable?

A prohibition on face coverings in Dutch public buildings has been in force since August 1 - banning use of the burqa or the niqab. Those wearing such garments may no longer access schools, government offices, hospitals or public transportation. Observers hope the law will soon be history.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Forget this asap

Many public institutions have announced that they will take a lax attitude to the ban. Rightly so, because the best thing you can do with bad laws is ignore them, NRC Handelsblad comments:

“From the start the law was aimed at limiting the religious expression of a certain population group. ... The right to dress and look as you please - and hence to one's identity - is key in a democratic, constitutional state. For that reason alone, one can only hope that understanding and tolerance will win out over the rabble-rousers. ... The 'burqa ban' is a solution to a fictitious problem. ... Our lawgivers are following a path laid out by [right-wing populist] Geert Wilders. And now the problem has been passed on to our law enforcers. ... This law will become obsolete all on its own in the bottom draw of the growing archive of laws and regulations.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Men left to do as they please

The Dutch ban on burqas certainly won't achieve anything in terms of equality, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung points out:

“One catch with this ban is that it only affects women. It forbids covering of the face in general, but the legislators' intention is clear: it targets Islamic women who dress this way and thus proclaim their adherence to a radical version of Islam. Their men do so too by wearing a certain type of beard and short trousers. But the law doesn't explain why they're allowed to continue to wear their radical Islamism on the street.”