The Dutch government will announce over the next few weeks whether it will make it a crime to wear traditional Islamic dress which covers the face apart from the eyes.
The Dutch parliament has already voted in favour of a proposal to ban the burqa outside the home, and some in the government have thrown their weight behind it. There are only about 50 women in all of the Netherlands who do cover up entirely – but soon they could be breaking the law.
Dutch MP Geert Wilders is the man who first suggested the idea of a ban. “It’s a medieval symbol, a symbol against women,” he says.
“We don’t want women to be ashamed to show who they are. Even if you have decided yourself to do that, you should not do it in Holland, because we want you to be integrated, assimilated into Dutch society. If people cannot see who you are, or see one inch of your body or your face, I believe this is not the way to integrate into our society.”
Mr Wilders has explicitly linked his wish for a burqa ban with terrorism. “We have problems with a growing minority of Muslims who tend to have sympathy with the Islamo-fascistic concept of radical Islam,” says Mr Wilders.