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Netherlands considering Muslim burka ban

[JURIST] The government of The Netherlands is considering a ban on the burka [Wikipedia backgrounder], the Muslim article of clothing for women that leaves only the eyes visible. Dutch Integration Minister Rita Verdonk [official profile in Dutch], known domestically as the "Iron Lady" for her tough anti-immigration initiatives, says she will explore where and when the burka should be banned, banning them where they may interfere with public safety, perhaps by concealing the identity of a terrorist. Holland has been a locus of anti-Islamic tension since the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh exposed a group of Muslim extremists [JURIST report] committed to destroying the country. A ban on burkas will likely win the support of the Dutch parliament due to its number of right-wing members, but the proposal has been met by hostility from Dutch Muslim and human rights groups. A Netherlands burka ban would be the first of its kind in Europe; in 2004, the French government enacted a controversial ban on religious clothing in state schools that effectively barred Muslim girls from wearing traditional headscarves [JURIST news archive]. The Times of London has more; Expatica has local coverage.

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