Dutch Islamic Party Offers to Pay Fines After ‘Burka Ban’ Comes Into Effect

The Dutch Islamic political party NIDA has announced a plan to pay for all fines received by wearers of the burka and niqab when a new law comes into effect next month. 

The law passed Parliaments upper chamber earlier this week after ten years of similar attempts. It is being hailed as a major victory by far-right politician Geert Wilders Freedom Party in the party’s plan to ‘de-Islamise’ the Netherlands.

What does the ban involve?

While the law passed is supposedly ‘religion-neutral,’ wearers of burkas and niqabs are thought to be the most heavily affected.

The law also bans any clothing which covers the face and makes someone unrecognisable. Full-face motorcycle helmets and ski masks are also covered under this classification.

The ban only applies to public spaces including hospitals, schools, public transport or government buildings. It does not extend to public streets, although law enforcement can require wearers to remove the headdress for identification purposes.

Religious headdress that does not cover the full-face, such as the hijab, is currently still permitted.

What will happen if offenders break the law?

From August 1, any wearer of the restricted items will be asked to remove the offending piece, or leave the location. Police can be called to enforce the law and issue the fine.

The fine is currently €150, but could increase if the offender refuses to leave or causes a public disruption.

Geert Wilders originally campaigned for the fine to be more than 22 times higher.

What is the reaction from the Islamic community?

Islamic party NIDA has publicised that they will pay the fine for any woman punished for wearing a burka or niqab. Cemil Yilmaz, of the party, has said the law is no more than ‘bullying’ and ‘symbolic politics’.

Yilmaz says the decision to pay the fines from party funds was widely supported by other members. Additionally, members of the community have also come forward to find details on how to donate to the fund.

It is thought that around 150 women in the Netherlands wear a burka or niqab and will be impacted by the ban.

What is the criticism of the law?

The law has been criticised on the grounds that it could further alienate members of society who must wear the niqab or burka for religious reasons. Left parties are concerned that members of the public who would otherwise wear the religious clothing will end up not leaving their house, leaving Muslim women very little space.

Green Party senator Ruard Ganzevoort said the law would force many Muslim women to stay at home more. “They will not have an opportunity to go to school. They will not have an opportunity to go to learn to swim, and all those things.”

What have other countries done about religious headdress?

The ban implemented in the Netherlands is not quite as extreme as neighbouring countries. The United Nations Human Rights committee slammed France last year after the country fined two women who were wearing a full face veil.

Early last year, Austria implemented a ban against headdress in primary schools. Denmark and Belgium are other Western European countries that have also taken measures against the wearing of headdress in public.

What do you think of the burka ban? Is it a valuable attempt towards state security? Or an oppression of the Islamic faith with far-reaching consequences for the women affected? Let us know in the comments below!

Main Image: Jusch on Pixabay.

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Samantha Dixon
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I would much prefer to see a law stating that people with hidden faces must reveal such for identification by authorities when asked. Leave those 159 women alone! They are already so oppressed by their religion’s rules. Now they will lose further freedoms by having to stay away from so many public places. This is just plain wrong. What is happening in previously tolerant, liberal Nederland?

    • Ann, I think you misunderstood this law at large. This law completely far away from being intolerant, it is to protect the society and the woman itself from being oppressed by such kind strict religious rules: force them to follow the local values. How can you call yourself a modern country when you let some specific group of people wore burqa or niqab which belong to the 10th century, they don’t have any place in any modern world. Even in some Muslim majority country such as Indonesia, Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, these kind of clothing is forbidden in public spaces.

      • Indo Guy: How did you know that countries such as Indonesia, Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, forbid these kind of clothing in public spaces?

  2. If it is true that these women are forced to wear these by an oppressive religion or society, then this ban will only oppress these women more. Just like his buddy Trump, Wilders is not interested in liberating women. Instead, like his buddy Trump, he is interested in fear mongering. The women’s rights movement was, and still is, about the right of women to CHOOSE. To choose to wear what they want, to become what they want, to go where they want, without needing permission from the men in their lives. Some women want to have tattoos and piercing, and show them off. Others want to wear high collared blouses and low hanging skirts. You do not liberate an oppressed person by limiting them even more. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  3. From Muslim scholars: “The Quran does not specifically mention the burqa or tell women to wear such extremely confining clothes. Instead, it instructs men and women to dress and behave modestly in society (24:31), which the Ulama or “Scholars” do agree upon. Modern day Muslims base their authority regarding the burqa on the hadith or collected traditions of life in the days of prophet Muhammad. It is important to note here that these “collected traditions” have no place in Islam, (please see relevant articles on this site). Most followers of these traditions know little of their origins or authenticity. For the thousands of traditions attributed to the Prophet only one bears notable credibility:

    ‘Do not write down anything I say except the Quran. Whoever has written something other than Quran let him destroy it.’ (Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, page 171 also Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7147).”

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