Dutch plan ban on Muslim face veils next year

[I am posting the below reuters news report to open up discussion on this subject. One thing to ignore in reports related to this story is the insistence of many to regurgitate the word ”Burqa’.” This is a ban on the covering of the face and not the burqa’ or niqab specifically. This will include also the pulling up of the scarf to cover one’s mouth and nose as some women choose to do. The context should be made clear. This is a good place for willing people, perhaps some of the Lajna contributors, if they choose, to post what our beloved Hudur (abta) has stated on this subject in the past]

AMSTERDAM | Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:41pm EST

(Reuters) – The Dutch minority government plans to ban Muslim face veils such as burqas and other forms of clothing that cover the face from next year.

The ban would make the Netherlands, where 1 million out of 17 million people are Muslim, the second European Union country to ban the burqa after France, and would apply to face-covering veils if they were worn in public.

“People should be able to look at each other’s faces and recognize each other when they meet,” the interior affairs ministry said in a statement Friday.

The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing.

Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which helps give the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition a majority in parliament, has set considerable political store on getting the so-called burqa ban passed into law.

Few Muslim women in the Netherlands wear the Arabic-style niqabs which leave the eyes uncovered and Afghan-style burqas that cover the face with a cloth grid. Academics estimate the numbers at between 100 and 400, whereas Muslim headscarves which leave the face exposed are far more common.

The coalition has agreed to submit a new law to parliament next week stipulating that offenders would be fined up to 390 euros ($510), the ministry said.

Verhagen said the ban was intended to ensure that a tradition of open communication cherished in Dutch society was upheld, and to prevent people from concealing their identity in order to do harm.

Wilders, who condemned Dutch Queen Beatrix for covering her hair with a scarf on a recent royal visit to the Middle East, said on Twitter: “Great news: burqa ban will finally come to the Netherlands! Proposal approved by ministers’ council. Excellent!”

Maurits Berger, professor of Islam in the contemporary West at Leiden University, said only a few hundred women wear the full face veil in the Netherlands.

“This is highly symbolic, it’s part of the deal made with PVV,” Berger said. “We are in the middle of a crisis. There are worse things to tackle.”

The minority coalition is at odds with the Freedom Party over where to make further budget cuts, and the scale of the cuts needed.

The face-veil law, which still needs to win approval in both houses of parliament, excludes clothing worn for security reasons such as that worn by firemen and hockey players, as well as party clothing such as Santa Claus or Halloween costumes.

The ban does not apply to religious places, such as churches and mosques, nor to passengers on airplanes or en route via a Dutch airport, the interior ministry said. ($1 = 0.7615 euros)

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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27 thoughts on “Dutch plan ban on Muslim face veils next year

  1. @handoftalha:

    don’t say so. I feel like a populist when you say, that I can post whatever I want. “Peace” has translated my contribution in human language 😀

  2. I think the problem is that women tend to measure their success by men’s standards. For ex men are deemed successful when they have a good job, status, are rich…Women too have started to believe that being successful necessarily means doing eveyrthing men do..so if men work so then they must work, they want to do everything men do without realising that men do not have such ambitions too!! I haven’t seen many men fighting to be the main caregiver at home or fighting to wear dresses (yes there are some no doubt, I won’t comment on them here). I think the role of women have been devalued too much so many want to take up other roles to be successful…I think some of the fault lies with men too for not valuing the role of women as mothers and wives, often they are just called ‘ladies of leisure’. If women as mothers and wives have been valued women wouldn’t have felt the need to prove themselves in other fields, they would of course have worked to fulfill their own ambitions and aspirations but not at the expense of family life, their children and their modesty. In the society especially in the west, being a stay at home mom has become like a real shame, society tends to view it negatively…However, in islam mothers have bene given great value which is why Muslim women who understand the teachings of Islam do not feel any need to compete with men and also muslim men know how to value the responsibilities and roles of the ladies.

    Peace

  3. No offence brother/sister. I was just sharing my thoughts. You are more than welcome to post whatever you like here. Please keep sharing your thoughts with us.

  4. I think you did not catch my point. The main point is that a woman wants everything to be allowed what you can find in men’s society. That means equality in every matter whereas the Holy Prophet (saw) has said that women are equal in terms of spirit and intellect.

    Have you forgotten the lady who wanted to lead the prayers for men and women in the USA ! Do you know about that incident? There is no offense intended in my post and these are not a belief of a populist. If you think so, then I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness.

  5. I think that is a bit harsh.

    1. Smoking is habitual and most women, like men, take to smoking at a young age and are thereafter hooked.

    2. Drinking is the same.

    3. Jeans???

    4. Imams??? Very few women actually want to become Imams. This is a populist belief. Each to their own.

    5. I would hazard a guess that women want to drive because it saves them time.

    I am not a woman – so I stand to be corrected on each of these.

  6. Assalamolikum

    I can truly say that since becoming a muslim I am the one that is free I am the one that is liberated I also can say that I have lived on both sides of the fence as I use to be a catholic. And no I did not become a ahmadi muslim to get married. I ask God for guidance that is why I am part of this blessed jamat .As a Muslim women it was very easy to understand God’s wisdom as to why a lady should dress modest and were hijab.

    It is certainly not for the sake of my husband as he cannot answer for me when I pass away from this life as I cannot answer for him . We as women know what is best for us that is why men struggle to understand they actually think they are defending us with the best of there intentions I am sure. The world may argue as to what we as muslim women should do concerning the hijab or face covering but I tell you now they will fail, they will fail because it is part of Islam and Islam cannot be changed. Little do they know how free a Muslim woman is. I also understand the negative aspect of hijab which we read about often, but there are negatives to everything in life

    It is up to the individual, there is no compulsion in religion. We wear the hijab out of free will. It is also very clear that as a ahmadi women we have many professional ladies who work and have never been deterred from doing so, in fact, we are encouraged to do so. But do remember we are indifferent to situations because we are muslim obviously if you have small children at home the main priority is the children. Is that not the same for any female?

  7. A Woman wants to smoke, because men smoke
    A woman woman wants do drink, because men drink
    A woman wants to work, because men work
    A woman wants to wear jeans, because men wear jeans
    A woman wants to become a Imam, because men are Imams
    A woman wants to drive, because men drive

    The list can go on…

  8. @Red Star: Why are you son intent in taking everything out of context and blow it out of proportions???You are so islamophabic that it seems you critisize each of Islam’s teachings not based on any logic but simply for the sake of criticism.

    If at some pt somebody stated that women would be better off at home, I’m sure there must be a context, a reason he said this.

    YES, women and men are equal in all aspects except physically. In the majority of cases, men possess more physical strenght. Which is why they have been given the responsibility of earning for the family, to provide for his wife and children. Th wife already has to walk with a weight around for 9 months and when the baby is born feed the child, that in itself is a huge responsibility…Unless you are a woman and have had children Red Star please don’t comment on this. Islam teachings try to ensure that the wife gets all that she needs to take good care of the children. A husband must not only physically protect the wife but also financially provide for her and also ensure her emotional and psychological well-being since a woman who is not happy cannot take proper care of the children. So Islam has absolved women of all responsibilities (such as earning for the family) to ensure that she can focus on the upbringing of the childen. Day cares and afterschool care, I am sorry cannot replace me!

    Islam never stopped a woman from working, my mom has always worked. But when she works, her earnings are hers to keep, she has no obligation to contribute to the family, if she does it is considered as a very charitable act!

    Muslim women who understand these teachings would themselves rather stay home and take care of their kids than work outside the house. 🙂 I would rather work on children than on some computer somewhere 🙂 Those who do choose to work are free to do so as long as the children are safe and secure and well taken care of, physically, emotionally, morally and spiritually. Yes daycares do take care of children physically, half of them do ensurethe child’s emotional well-being, but most ignore the moral and spiritual aspects. I see the moral training of the children as important as taking care oftheir physical needs.

    Strangely, I’ve noted that in my daughter’s school, 80% of the mothers do not work and they are mostly white and non-muslim, many have left their careers to take care of their children. They tell me that the children is much more important than their careers. Some work part time, some work from home.

    Women and men are truthfully not really equal 🙂 It seems ilsamic teachings are more biased towards ensuring the well being of women than men and the most important responsibility has been laid on the women not the men: That of the upbringing of the furture generation! So as my friend says : We are the queen bees of the house 😉

    Peace

  9. I don’t doubt that it could have been said. I do question, however, the acontextual way with which you have presented it. A context which does not fit Ahmadi in with Ahmadi discourse.

  10. It was on the Real Talk programme. I can’t recall the name of the individual, but I think he was called Amir of the UK or something.

    I’ll try and see if it’s on YouTube and post a link.

    He definitely said that though.

  11. I will offer you till Monday to present that reference so that we can see the context. You appear to have stated something incorrect about our leader. No reference by Monday and I will delete the comment.

  12. “Muslim men and women are equal.”

    As testified to by the numerous female Islamic scholars, imams, jurists and khalifas…right?

    Oh no, wait…

    And not that long ago I heard one of your leaders say on your satellite television channel that women ‘going out and working’ was a major problem and that everything would be much better if they ‘stayed at home’.

  13. No, it surely wasnt social conditioning there was no social pressure ..as a matter of fact when I decided to wear the hijab the hardest thing was the lak of social support.

    AS I mentioned, there is no Jamaat where I live and few muslims, many do not observe pardah.

    My study of Islam and its teachings brought me greater understanding of the role the basic unit, the family plays in the larger society. I also understood the delicate relationship between husband and wife and how their relationship also impacts the children. It is hard to explain but the more I read, the more I prayed and as I looked around, I was very disturbed by what I saw. I come from a country where people are still quite conservative but when I moved after getting married to a place where the western culture prevails, I realised the problems that arise if the family unit is not protected.

    I have been on both sides of the fence, I have had some quite troubled teenage years and learnt some lessons. I saw some of my friends going into drugs, doing abortions and seen some distressing things which made me wonder how to solve all this. I realised that as long as the family is strong and walk in the right path, they can help guide their children better. I did fall in many traps but still at the end of the day it was my parents’ prayers and guidance which helped me out.

    Anyway, I wanted to shield myself from these traps and shield my future generation too. Taking up the hijab simply because others do it doesn’t work in my opinion. Once I was in Italy and saw some strange things. I saw a fully covered lady with her husband arriving in the hotel and few hours later come out without any jilbab or covering. For me that shows that neither she nor her husband understood why she was doing pardah and it was more due to social pressure and prevailing norms in their society which they ‘felt free’ from as soon as they reached Italy.

    Taking up the hijab was a huge struggle, I did it alone and taking little baby steps..(1st try to wear it when nobody around, then slowly when few people are around, then in public) It was truthfully a bit scary as some people reacted very negatively “oh I wouldn’t want to be in your place, y do you hide under this thing” , But at the same time Ive had people come to me and ask about my hijab and being supportive of my choice even though I didn’t even know them!

    As for feeling inferior to the husband, well no. Because men too abide by a dress rule, my husband won’t wear shorts above the knees for example. It’s important I think for men to stop themselves from being too pushy. Others might differ, but wearing a hijab and jilbab in not easy especially in the west and so we ladies do our best. I do it because I understand its purpose and Allhamdolillah after much struggle I wear it happily and without any complex.

    Peace

  14. Muslim men and women are equal. That does not necessarily mean that all aspects of life are identical.
    May I ask any of the Muslim ladies here to share their views and perceptions of the fact that more is expected of a woman in terms of physical veiling. Does a veiled lady walking down the street with her husband feel unequal in any way? Testimonies from countless Muslim women say that the veil makes them feel ‘protected’. Does this ever lead to a woman wishing her husband was also veiled in order to protect him from unlowered gazes?

    I believe Islam makes people feel complete because it guides us to act precisely in the way a human being was designed to. Sister ‘Peace’, you said before the hijab you otherwise still dressed modestly. You then later took on the hijab and jilbab after studying Islam in greater depth. A non-Muslim or an atheist may dismiss this as purely social conditioning. Would you be able to share some rationale on your transition from modest dress to modest dress + hijab + jilbab. I am always afraid to make any definite conclusions myself because I can’t claim to know what it feels like personally.

  15. Jazak Allah for this. I agree completely. I think that key issues which many men need to overcome is both their ego and impatience. If a man wants his wife or sister to dress more modestly, and it is not a negative thing to wish the best for someone you hold dear, then any form of force is counterproductive. Force, in any aspect of life, and particularly concerning men’s interaction with women, almost always arises because the man does not have the patience to allow things to develop organically and is overcome by an ego which cannot bare to hear the word ”no.”

    Islamic dress is something which the Qur’an tells us brings about human dignity, creates a more socially productive society, and enhances one’s perspective of life. Each of these advantages have very strong spiritual aspects at their heart. Spirituality is not something which can be forced upon anybody and advances at a different pace with each unique individual. The best way to help this process along is, as the sister has explained, through wise actions, wise words, and education which need not be specific to the Hijab. Many paths read to Rome.

    To become a spiritual person is not a race, but a marathon which we will die without having completed. Treat it as such both inwardly and with those around us. One problem with some Muslim societies today is that an atmosphere is created wherein everyone must be a lemming. I find it difficult to comprehend how a person can engender true conviction within his/her heart if actions are carried out due to force or hollow imitation. Surely true conviction comes when each and every God conscious act comes straight from the heart and is routed in the love of Almighty Allah and not in the fear of man.

    Not saying that I am right, just forwarding a few thoughts I have on the subject.

  16. @Anonymous: Do you mean the veil specifically here? Or hijab and the jilbab?

    AS for the veil as far as I know Khalifatul Masih Rabbe has clearly explained that there is a minimum standard which women should try to adhere to, meaning Hijab and modest clothes, as for the rest it is really up to the lady whether she wants to take up the veil or not.

    If you mean the hijab and modest clothes, then if I’ll give my own example. I never wore a hijab before I got married or even after I got married. Dressing was always modest but simply no hijab. My parents and husband advised I should take it up but still I didn’t and nobody insisted. If a Muslimah isn’t taking up the hijab then it is simply because she fails to understand the purpose of Islam, why we have certain guidelines in Islam. I will go back to myself, it’s only after learning more about Islam ( not pardah per se) and doing lots of reading that I finally realised where hijab and modesty fits in (for men and women both). Then I took up the hijab and jilbab on my own, it wasn’t easy as where I live there is no Jamaat and few muslims too. So there was no social support but it did do it because I understood exactly what role modesty plays in the wholesome way of life that Islam encourages to live.

    As for the argument that this puts the husband to shame, while I do understand it, that’s is really not the reason why a man should encourage his wife to be modest :’ beause people will talk’. But I suppose you do understand this, right?

    Modesty, as Huzoor has so many times explained starts in childhood, I do not mean wrapping a scarf around a 5 years old girl as I have seen sometimes but rather teaching children to value modesty. Children often will simply follow their parents and surroundings as they grow up, my 12 year old sister wears a scarf even though uptil now nobody even encouraged her to.

    As one grows up, this becomes harder. Some develop inferiority complex, sometimes social support is lacking…..

    Now if someone doesn’t want to dress modestly despite so many advises, forcing her is not the solution as you already mentioned as she will just do as she pleases behind your back.

    Insisting only makes matters worse. The best way I found to deal with this (since I have many young girl cousins) is to encourage them to learn more about Islam about the Quran. Start with something that interests them and slowly guide them towards more reading and learning, Islam’s teachings are beautiful and rational. Most people (as long as they are not Islamophobics) tend to realise the purpose of Islam’s teachings: To raise man to the spiritual level…As this realisation sinks in, most of us try to improve ourselves, reform ourselves to reach that level. Adopting modesty becomes automatic then. This advise comes from my personal life, my husband never insisted I wear the hijab or jilaba, he certainly did express his wish that I do so, but he stopped right there. Instead of insisting, he helped me ‘discover’ Islam, understand its teachings, it didn’t take a day, it took a while but he was very patient. When I finally understood the beauty of Islam, automatically I wanted to adhere to its teachings. This is the same ‘process’ I use with others…and it does seem to work. If a woman isn’t used to dressing modestly, doing so will take a while (of course there are sisters who do it overnight masha allah). So small steps should be encouraged….

    Peace

  17. His question is quite clear. He is asking how it is best to educate Muslim women about modest dress. In the same way that the question has also been asked in the past as to how best we can educate Muslim men about modest dress. Our Khalifa has both advised men and women on this subject several times. He has quite clearly stated that injustice and oppression, the way of many men of various belief systems, is completely wrong and that he would like to know what is the most peaceful way to raise awareness. He made no suggestion about ”’doing’ anything with women who do or don’t choose to dress in a particular way,” and in fact stated that to oppress or force women is completely wrong.

    As I know you will probably come back with a smartly hidden reply, I will say a bit more. The Qur’an prescribes that MUSLIM men and women should dress in particular ways. Our understanding of this is clear. While we firmly believe that there is no compulsion in religion, and men and women can choose to dress how they want to, we choose to follow our interpretation of the Qur’an. That is our right and we do not EXPECT anyone else to have to adhere to what we believe. If someone says that they want to dress as a Muslim man or woman then it is within the rights of the community to raise awareness as to what we believe that means (i.e., what is the standard of modesty). In this context, the gentleman has asked how we can best raise awareness of what we believe modest dress to be. Once that awareness is raise, it is then up to the individual to do as they please.

  18. I have no idea what you are talking about.

    In all seriousness, I don’t quite undertand what you’re getting at. What do you want to start a discussion about?

    Can you please read over what you have written and perhaps rephrase it?

    Are you trying to say that women who don’t wear the veil bring shame on their husbands?

    I’m particularly concerned by the question:

    “What to do with women who will never understand it’s purpose or never care for it, despite being a Muslima?”

    I hope no one plans on ‘doing’ anything with women who do or don’t choose to dress in a particular way.

  19. On this I think we are in virtually total agreement.

    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you go girl 😉

  20. let’s start a dicussion:

    What to do with women who will never understand it’s purpose or never care for it, despite being a Muslima? In my opinion it puts shame on the Husband. With shame I mean, when women start to talk “look at this girl, she doesn’t dress as Islam teaches women to dress” whereas a man lives a life commanded by Islam, the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Caliph of our time? It is very easy for everybody to say don’t care what others say, but you do care.

    What to do with those? Force is not a solution, that’s true, this shall not be done.
    What when advises are not taken serious and are wholeheartedly turned back?

  21. Well said Red Star.

    I have the right to dress how I want. I would hate it if people thought they have the right to force me to dress in a certain way (Saudi Arabia) or if they thought they have the right to stop me from dressing in a certain way (France- wearing the veil)! It’s my choice, not theirs, why do they interfere? And why don;t they also ban the Santa and Halloween costumes too, don’t they also hide part of the face?

    The idea of forcing women to dress in an Islamic way is ridiculous, I wholeheartedly agree with encouraging, advising and supporting women/girls to take up the hijab but forcing us doesn’t make sense. My parents never forced me, my husband never did, I took it up when I understood it’s true purpose, it was my choice. At some point, I might take up the face veil too, again I would hate for anybody to deny me that right.

    Ridiculous!

    Peace

  22. I agree with you 100%. I wonder why this minority Dutch Government is banning something that only a minority of women wear. I am sure there are more important issues in Holland to address instead of trying to get cheap publicity.

  23. As a proponet of personal freedom, I condemn the attempt, by any government, to place restrictions on the way people choose to dress.

    I hope you will join me in condemning the Thatcherite, right-wing PVV of the Netherlands, as well as the Sarkozy government of France, for pursuing this. I hope that, equally, you will join me in condmning Saudi Arabia, Iran, and many, many Muslim countries which subject women to brutal humiliation and punishment for not adhering to their prescribed dress codes.

    Like I said, everyone has the right to dress how they wish.

  24. Title: UK Women Get Self Defense Lessons

    Source:
    http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/455653-uk-women-get-self-defense-lessons.html#comment-7022

    Quote:
    “Hijab is an obligatory code of dress in Islam.”

    From Wikipedia (open to editing by all):
    “Muslims differ as to whether the hijab should be required on women in public, as it is in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia; whether it should be banned in schools, as it is in France and Turkey; or whether it should be left for the women to decide, as it is in most of the world.”

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