Another European country is about to join the ever-growing list of nations who now forbid the wearing of full-face veils.

The Netherlands last week voted in favour of banning the burqa in some public spaces, along with helmets and face-concealing masks.

The lower house of the Dutch parliament voted 132 to 18 in favour of the ban – although it will now go before the Senate, where it must be approved before it becomes law.

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However given the overwhelming support by local MPs, commentators say it’s unlikely to be rejected.

 

If the bill, proposed by Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk, comes into being, women will be banned from wearing the full-face veil in selected areas, including schools, hospitals and on public transport.

Anyone who breaches the ban will incur a €410 (Dhs1,605) penalty.

Items such as ski masks and motorcycle helmets will also be covered by the ban, which does not restrict residents from donning the burqa on public streets.

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Several hundred Muslim women in the European country are believed to wear the traditional covering, but the Dutch Prime Minister has denied the ban has “any religious background”.

The ban only applies “in specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen” for security reasons, Mark Rutte told AP last year.

Minister Plasterk has also said the law will not be as strict as that imposed in other countries including France and Belgium.

 
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France was the first European country to ban the burqa – a clampdown on students in state-run schools began in 2004, and the law came into full effect in April 2011. Anyone caught wearing the burqa or niqab is fined €150 (Dhs749).

However Belgium, which introduced a similar ban shortly after France, goes even further – anyone caught wearing the veil risks being jailed for up to seven days and fined €1,378 (Dhs5,685).

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