Amsterdam asks parliament to scrap burka ban
Three years after the introduction of the ban on face-covering clothing - commonly referred to as the burka ban - the Amsterdam city council is calling on parliament to scrap the ban as soon as possible. Mayor Femke Halsema promised to pass on the message to politicians in The Hague, Parool reports.
The Netherlands implemented the burka ban in 2019 after fourteen years of political discussion. It bans face-covering clothing in public transport, schools, government buildings, and healthcare. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, will debate the ban later this year, probably in November.
On Wednesday, the Amsterdam city council decided to add to that debate, according to Parool. A majority in the council supported a motion asking Halsema to make national politicians aware that the Dutch capital does not support the ban and wants it lifted “as soon as possible.” The motion was filed by Sheher Khan (DENK), Yasmine Bentoumya (GroenLinks), and Nilab Ahmadi (BIJ1).
“It is a symbolic law, advised against by the Council of State and Amnesty International. A symbolic law with major consequences. Since its introduction, more Muslim women have been physically and verbally harassed. Muslim women with and without a niqab.”
An Amsterdam study early thirst ear showed that the ban significantly reinforced Muslim discrimination, with the sentiment surrounding women wearing headscarves becoming increasingly hostile. The law also contributes to the increasing contradictions between population groups in the city, the researchers said. A Ministry of Social Affairs study also found that women who wear a niqab or burka are more likely to experience harassment and violence. Offenders use the law as a license for their behavior, the study found.
According to Bentoumya and Khan, these studies showed that the law put Muslim women in the “foreground of exclusion.” As a result, women are avoiding public transport, not going to parent-teacher conferences, and even avoiding healthcare. “Women should be able to decide for themselves what they wear. That is not up to the government. The law ensures that these women are not allowed to fully participate in society,” Bentoumya said