Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Freedom Party, asked for a 'total ban on burqas' back in 2005. Pretty interesting, considering the burqa isn't really worn in the Netherlands. He was talking about the niqab, a veil covering the face, except for the eyes.

The 'Raad van State', the highest advisory body to the Dutch government was very dismissive towards the idea of a ban. They were unable to find the direct reasons that would be needed to breach the freedom of religion such a ban would cause.

Unfortunately, after a long political battle, the ban has been approved and starts on August 1st of 2019. The ban will be active within schools and hospitals, public transport and government buildings. Public transport providers have already stated they, however, won't actively uphold the ban.

Fortunately, the same seems to be the case within hospitals. It's great to see some of these organizations refuse to participate in what is simply a far-right, Islamophobic tool. The fact that it now exists, gives us further proof of how these extremist ideas are getting normalized rapidly.

There are less than 300 people actively wearing a niqab in the Netherlands. The only thing this will accomplish is the further isolation of a small group that already suffers from rising discrimination and exclusion. It should never be the case that law states how women should dress. The freedom to choose for yourself is one of the biggest privileges we have.

Because of this, we joined in the protest organized in The Hague. Experts on law spoke about how unacceptable this new law is.

Rotterdam BIJ1 will always work towards a society where discrimination on any basis will not be tolerated.

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