(Reuters) – The Dutch minority government plans to ban Muslim face veils such as burqas and other forms of clothing that cover the face from next year.
The ban would make the Netherlands, where 1 million out of 17 million people are Muslim, the second European Union country to ban the burqa after France, and would apply to face-covering veils if they were worn in public.
“People should be able to look at each other’s faces and recognize each other when they meet,” the interior affairs ministry said in a statement Friday.
The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing.
Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which helps give the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition a majority in parliament, has set considerable political store on getting the so-called burqa ban passed into law.