Dutch government plans to ban wearing of the full Islamic veil by next year. According to media reports, the proposal aims to ban the Islamic veil, the burqa and face-covering hoods in public places, educational institutions, health facilities and on public transport.
Netherlands would become the second European Union country to ban the burqa after France.
Denying that this was a ban on religious clothing, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen said that ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store.
Reports state that few Muslim women in the Netherlands wear the Arabic-style niqabs which leave the eyes uncovered and Afghan-style burqas that cover the face with a cloth grid. Academics estimate the numbers at between 100 and 400, whereas Muslim headscarves which leave the face exposed are far more common.