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Dutch MP seeks to criminalize burqa-wearing after government aborts ban

[JURIST] Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders [official website, in Dutch] submitted a legislative proposal to prohibit the public wearing of burqas [Wikipedia backgrounder; JURIST news archive] Thursday, proposing a fine of up to €3,350 euros or 12 days in jail [press release] for violators. Wilders, the leader of the right-wing Party for Freedom [official website, in Dutch] and who has previously made controversial remarks against Islam and Muslims in the Netherlands, claims his proposal is intended to further the "emancipation and integration" of Muslim women, and that the "medieval burqa" does not belong in a modern country like the Netherlands. Wilders also justified his proposal as being a security measure, which he says will make identification easier.

In February, Wilders characterized the Netherlands Muslim population as posing a threat of a "tsunami of Islamisation" [Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau report] in the Netherlands, and said that Muslims should tear out half of the Qur'an if they wanted to remain in the Netherlands. Last November, then-Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk [official profile] announced plans to prohibit the public wearing of face coverings [JURIST report] for "security reasons" and to promote the integration of Dutch society. The proposal was met by protests [JURIST report], and in the wake of a national election was abandoned [JURIST report] in March by Verdonk's successor, who estimated only some 150 Muslim women wear the burqa in the Netherlands. AP has more.

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