Geert Wilders, eyes set on banning burqas
A Dutch right-wing anti-Islam politician on Thursday submitted new proposals for a law banning burqas after an earlier attempt stranded.
In letter to parliament Geert Wilders, who heads the Freedom Party which has nine of the 150 seats in the lower house, wrote that “the burqa and the niqab is a symbol of the oppression of women” and is “in defiance of the democratic constitutional state”.
The burqa is a veil covering the entire face and body and a mesh screen to see through, while the niqab is a veil covering the face but leaving the eye area clear. It is not known how many women in the Netherlands wear the face veils but estimates are a few dozen.
Nearly two years ago, in October 2005 a majority of the Dutch parliament voted in favour of a motion by Wilders to ban burqas in public places.
However, the then minister of integration, hardliner Rita Verdonk, never crafted a law for a burqa ban after an advisory committee said such a ban could be unconstitutional because it violated the right to equal treatment for all residents of the country.
Now Wilders, known for his harsh anti-Islam rhetoric, has submitted his own law proposal and hopes the parliament will agree. It is unlikely that he will get another majority as the elections of November 2006 put an end to a centre-right majority in parliament that backed the plans.
Wilders wants to ban specifically burqas and niqabs in public places including stations, stadiums, shops, restaurants, museums, hospitals, cars driving on the public roads and public transports. He proposes a maximum sentence of 12 days in jail or a fine of 3,350 euros (4,619 dollars).
If the law is passed it would be a world first. No national government has yet banned the use of face veils in public places.
Geert Wilders is the man who insulted prophet Muhammad saying that had prophet Muhammad been living in Holland now, he would have chased him out of the country. He also insulted the Qur`an saying that it contains enough awful things and it should be torn apart and thrown away.
He was also the man who called for closing all Islamic schools in Holland.