Netherlands: Proposed ban on burkas in schools
The Dutch Education Minister recently announced he will push through a law against burkas - and any other clothing covering the face - in school (EN). This will prevent teachers, students, parents and delivery guys from wearing burkas around school premises.The news made the rounds, but I wasn't sure whether to even bother posting it. Here's a look at the burka debate in the Netherlands over the past few years:* Dec 2005: Parliament voted to ban the burka in all public places * Nov 2006: Committee advises cabinet that it might not be possible by law. The Intergration Minister at the time still thinks it would be possible to ban burkas in schools and public transport.* Jan 2008: Cabinet decides to ban the burka in schools and in the public service sector.* Apr 2008: Government wants to ban burkas in schools, public transport and the public service sector.* Sep 2008: Education Minister announces he will prepare a law to ban burkas in schools.Besides the fact that this topic has been discussed for so long, making world headlines every single time without any actual steps being taken - banning burkas in schools is apparently a moot point. Dutch newspaper Parool reports (NL) that students in Amsterdam-West, a neighborhood with a large immigrant population, don't wear burkas, and if the mothers do - they don't come to school to pick up their children. At the most, as one Rotterdam school prinicpal put it (NL) - he's never seen a student with a burka and doesn't expect that this would change in the next ten, twenty years. However, such a law could serve as precautionary measure and should he ever need to do something about a burka, he won't even need to discuss it.