“It is important for children to learn that proper communication requires being able to look the other person in the eye”
“Dutch to ban burkas when picking children up from school,” Bruno Waterfield for the Telegraph, September 9:
Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch education minister, announced that the ban would apply to all schools, including private Muslim religious establishments, and their immediate surroundings.
Not only teachers, but parents and all visitors to schools, including suppliers making deliveries, will be forbidden the burka, even though only 100 women in the Netherlands, out of a population of 16.5 million, are estimated to wear it.
Legislation is expected to be agreed by the Dutch parliament next year.
Mr Plasterk has cited security concerns and the need for teachers and schoolchildren to be able to communicate properly with each other.
“It is important for children to learn that proper communication requires being able to look the other person in the eye,” he said to Dutch MPs.
The legendary tolerance of the Dutch has been tested by years of controversy over the burka and radical Islam in the Netherlands.
Local authorities are now expected to follow the government ban by extending restrictions on Islamic dress to council buildings and public transport.
The burka, also known as a Niqab, is a wide dress covering the entire body, hair and neck face of a woman, leaving only a slit for the eyes.
The Dutch ban will not apply to the more common Hijab headscarf, where a woman’s face is clearly visible.
Obviously, if this ban was about harassing Muslims — and not the security-related need to see the faces of people going in and out of schools — the hijab would’ve been banned too.