Dutch Prime Minister claims partial burqa ban "does not have any religious background"
The Dutch Parliament has approved a partial ban on burqas and other face coverings, though lawmakers claim religion has no bearing on the decision.
MPs have voted to institute a ban in government buildings, in schools and on public transport, but stopped short of a full ban in public areas.
The proposals will pass into law if approved by the Dutch senate.
But Geert Wilders, head of the far-right Freedom Party, has responded to the news by pledging to extend the ban if his party were to come into power.
Today the Dutch parliament approved a partial burka ban.
After the elections next March I will implement a full burka ban.#deislamize
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) November 29, 2016
According to the Independent, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said "The bill does not have any religious background," and that it is only being implemented in locations where "it is essential for people to be seen".
MPs have also voted to ban ski-masks and helmets which cover the full face, according to various news reports.
The developments in the Netherlands follow France's burkini ban, which was ultimately overturned at a number of locations on the French Riviera following a court ruling.
And, while the Dutch legislation extends the ban beyond burqas, it has still come in for criticism.
There's a difference between what a ban encompasses and what it is targeting. To pretend otherwise is naive.
— Warren Layberry (@warrenlayberry) November 29, 2016
Is it not those reacting to the burqa that are the problem rather than the burqa itself? Another blow aimed at women??
— Sheila Hood 💙 (@nosyparker1) November 29, 2016