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Netherlands government to push for Muslim burqa ban

[JURIST] The Netherlands cabinet announced plans Friday to press for a ban on the wearing of the full-length Muslim burqa [Wikipedia backgrounder] and the niqab [BBC backgrounder], the Muslim headscarf for women that leaves only the eyes visible. Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk [official profile in Dutch] said the goverment cannot currently enforce a total ban on the garments because of laws governing religious freedom, which need to be accomodated. No European country currently imposes a comparable total prohibition.

Verdonk, known domestically as the "Iron Lady" for her tough anti-immigration initiatives, first floated [JURIST report] the ban last year, a majority of lawmakers endorsed a ban [NOS report] in December, and the cabinet was initially supposed to take up the issue [JURIST report] in March 2006. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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