Face it

So it seems that the cabinet has not quite made up its mind about banning the burqa after all. In fact, it seems to be totally confused about what action it is planning to take on the top-to-toe covering worn by fundamentalist Muslim women.

Sidelines has never actually come across one in the Netherlands but judging by the amount of cabinet and parliamentary time devoted to them, the burqa must be a serious problem indeed.
Last week it looked as if ministers were decided: burqas would be banned in schools and for civil servants. But this week it emerges that the Christian Democrats want to go further – not as far as the right-wing parties who want the garment banned altogether – but further nevertheless.
The burqa, the cabinet now seems to be saying, should also be banned on public transport because they are a threat to public security.
However, because such a ban would be in conflict with religious freedom, ministers want the public transport companies to use their own by-laws to implement the ban.
Not surprisingly the public transport groups are not too happy with this. Burqas, said a spokesman, are not really a problem on buses and trams.
Indeed, if ministers want to ban the burqa, they should at least have the guts to do it themselves rather than get others to do their dirty work for them.

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