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Nederland vurderer å innføre forbud mot burqa, heldekkende drakter for kvinner hvor bare øynene er synlige, av sikkerhetsgrunner og fordi de skremmer folk.

Forslaget har utløst sterke protester fra muslimsk hold og menneskerettsgrupper, og enkelte tror det vil provosere flere til å bære burqa.

Forslaget kommer fra integrasjonsminister Rita Verdonk, som den senere tid har gått mer offensivt til verks for å korrigere en for ettergivende politikk. Ikke alle har sans for hennes linje.

Forbudet mot burqa vil bli enestående i verden. Det kan imidlertid ikke være totalt, da det vil stride mot retten til religionsfrihet. Forbudet vil være situasjonsbestemt, og begrunnet ut fra sikkerhetshensyn:

A government spokesman said: «We want to investigate when, how, in which places the burka should be banned. It is a safety measure — you don’t see who is in it.» The Government cites as a precedent existing football legislation, which bans people from entering football grounds covering their faces in scarves.
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The ban is likely to be enforced in shops, public buildings, cinemas, train and bus stations and airports, as well as on trains and buses.

Muslimske representanter tolker det ut fra en helt annen sammenheng. De ser det som forfølgelse, stigmatisering, diskriminering. De to virkelighetsoppfatningene er vanskelig å forene.

Yassim Hertog, a vice-president of the Muslim School Boards Union, said: «Can you prohibit someone from wearing a certain type of dress? They are trying to test what a government can forbid, and how far you can go trampling on people’s rights. They want to show all these Dutch citizens who are sick and tired of all these ‘mutant’ citizens, this is where we draw the line — get normal.»

Muslim groups insist that only a few dozen women in the Netherlands wear the burka, and that the ban is a distraction. The Muslims and Government Contact Body said: «Only a handful of Muslims actually wear burkas. Let us focus our energy on what we have in common. This is not a big problem.»

Last year two Muslim women lost a court case against their college that had banned them from wearing burkas during their social work and childcare course. The judge backed the college in its claim that children had to be able to see who was caring for them, prompting the women to drop the course.

Flere byer i Belgia har innført forbud mot burqa på offentlige steder, bl.a. Ghent og Antwerpen. Boten for overtredelse er 1.000 kroner.

Både Tyrkia og Tunis har innført forbud mot hijab, som dekker hals og hår, i offentlige bygninger.

Opposisjonen mener Rita Verdonk kun er ute etter å fiske stemmer. Selv har hun sagt at tiden for koseprat er over.

Mrs Verdonk gave warning that the «time of cosy tea-drinking» with Muslim groups had passed and that natives and immigrants should have the courage to be critical of each other. She recently cancelled a meeting with Muslim leaders who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman.