MPs on Tuesday criticised calls from VVD MP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert for a debate on the separation of church and state.
The MP made the comments in an interview in the Pers newspaper, during which she called for a ban on Islamic headscarves and other religious symbols in public buildings.
CDA MP Mirjam Sterk said a ban would conflict with the fundamental right to freedom of religion. ‘What problem does the VVD want to solve with this?,’ she said. ‘This plan will work against the emancipation of women.’
The CDA and VVD form the current minority coalition government.
Freedom of religion
André Rouvoet, leader of the orthodox Christian ChristenUnie also criticised Hennis. ‘Yet another Liberal who considers freedom of religion to be unnecessary,’ he said, using the microblogging service Twitter.
D66 MP Gerard Schouw accused the MP of ‘headscarf hobbyism’ and said the VVD might as well merge with the anti-Islam PVV. The PVV wants a ban on Islamic headscarves in all public buildings.
In the interview, Hennis-Plasschaert called for a thoughtful debate. ‘We talk a lot about the separation of church and state, but the church has become involved in the state in a lot of ways,’ she said. ‘Look at religious schools and the way public broadcasting is organised. That goes for ritual slaughter as well.’
The coalition government has already made concessions on Sunday trading with the fundamentalist SGP. The coalition may also rely on the SGP for majority support in the upper house of parliament.
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