Partial Dutch ban on face-covering clothing comes into force

August 01, 2019 - 2:04 am

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A new Dutch law has come into force banning face-covering clothing — including the burqa and niqab worn by conservative Muslim women — on public transport, in government buildings and at health and education institutions.

The Netherlands, long seen as a bastion of tolerance and religious freedom, is the latest European country to introduce such a ban , following the likes of France, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Denmark.

Muslim and rights groups have voiced opposition to the law — formally called the "partial ban on face-covering clothing" — and an Islamic political party in Rotterdam has said it will pay the 150-euro ($167) fines for anybody caught breaking it.

Very few women in the Netherlands wear a burqa or niqab and it is unclear how strenuously the law will be enforced.