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Dutch parliament backs ban on burqas

Lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament have backed a partial ban on “face-covering clothing”, including Islamic veils and robes such as the burqa and niqab. The legislation still requires Senate approval before it becomes law.

Studies suggest that only a few hundred women in the Netherlands wear such clothes, but successive governments have attempted to ban the garments, following the example of European countries such as France and Belgium.

The ban will apply in settings where identifying the wearer is considered essential, such as on public transport and in education institutions, health institutions such as hospitals, and government buildings.

The maximum fine for breaching the ban, which also covers ski masks and full-face helmets, is just over 400 euros.

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