Dutch politician Geert Wilders [personal website, in Dutch] said Thursday that the Netherlands will ban the burqa [JURIST news archive] and other full Islamic veils as part of the government's plan to form a minority coalition. The Liberals and Christian Democrats (CDA) must make concessions [BBC report] to Wilders' anti-Islamic Freedom Party [party website, in Dutch] in order to gain its backing to form a minority coalition government. The pact was reached after 113 days of deadlock and negotiations between the three parties. However, the deal has angered some members of the CDA who do not wish to be associated with Wilders' anti-Islamic positions, and they will take a final vote [RNW report] on Saturday to determine if they will ratify the pact. The agreement also includes large budget cuts, stricter rules on immigration, tougher measures on the sale of soft drugs and an increase in the number of police officers.
An Amsterdam trial court ruled in February held that it has jurisdiction to try Wilders for anti-Islamic statements. The court rejected [JURIST report] Wilders' claim that he should be tried by the Supreme Court as a member of parliament, finding that his alleged crime was committed outside his capacity as an MP. Wilders had hoped to defend his criticisms of Islam and show its dangers by calling to the stand Islamic extremists including Muhammed Bouyeri [JURIST news archive], who is currently serving a sentence of life imprisonment for murdering Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Other countries have also recently taken steps to ban the burqa. Last month, the French Senate [official website, in French] voted 246 to 1 [press release, in French] to approve a bill [materials, in French] that will make it illegal [JURIST report] to wear the burqa or other full face veils in public. The legislation is now pending with the Constitutional Council [official website], which will have one month to confirm the law's legality.