In the two months since the burqa ban was introduced in the Netherlands, no-one has been fined but there has been an increase in aggression targeting Muslim women, broadcaster RTL said on Thursday.
So far, public transport workers have made 35 reports of women wearing niqabs in buses, trams or trains and in two cases the police were called, the paper said. The Dutch hospital association has reported no incidents.
MPs are due to debate the implementation of the law, which came into effect on August 1, later on Thursday. MPs from the ruling VVD and Christian Democrats want the government to get tougher on women breaking the law, and say street wardens should also be given the power to issue fines.
Meanwhile, agencies which collect instances of discrimination say there has been an increase in aggression directed at Muslim women, including those who wear headscarves.
‘People are using the ban to verbally attack women wearing headscarves, intimidate them and swear at them,’ Abdou Menebhi from the anti Islamophobia collective told the broadcaster.
One niqab wearer, known to the paper as Roos, said she had many more ‘nasty experiences’ since the ban came into effect. ‘It would appear that people think the law has given them the right to insult women on the basis of what they wear,’ she said.
The Netherlands introduced a so-called burqa ban on August 1 which applies to government buildings, schools and colleges, hospitals and public transport.