Update: Continued Reaction to Dutch Cabinet Adoption of Burqa Ban

28 January 2012

Following last week’s announcement that the Dutch cabinet had adopted a ban on face coverings despite the grave reservations of the government’s advisory body and highest court, media coverage has reported a range of response.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that the chair of the police works council has criticized the ban as ‘symbolic policy’ and feels that it is unlikely to have practical benefits. Security and Justice Minister Yvo Opstelten responded to the comments by noting that once approved, police will be obliged to enforce the ban.

The Jerusalem Post notes several instances of women condemning the ban, including those who feel that it would encourage more women to don a burqa. Fatima Elatik, a practicing Muslim of Moroccan descent who is district mayor of East Amsterdam. Elatik opposes the ban on this basis. The same article reports that a politician for the country’s Green Left party is calling upon ‘all women’ to wear a burqa as a form of protest to the ban.

Meanwhile, a comic who responded to the controversy by creating farcical online dance video  ‘Do the Burqa’ has faced threats.

Last week’s adoption by the Dutch cabinet considerably furthered the likelihood of the ban passing into law. However, the ban must still pass a vote in parliament before becoming law.

Amsterdam District Council Subsidizes Inflammatory Campaign

March 10 2011

The Islamic leader of the district council of East Amsterdam is facing criticism for providing subsidies to a youth organization which posted inflammatory material during provincial elections. The ASRI campaign posters referred to the Second World War and called upon citizens to “vote or die”. The press release explicitly called upon Muslims to collect voting proxies from those who did not intend to cast ballots, in order to fight against the current “barbarous government”. The ASRI and district leader now face criticism from the conservative political party VVD. District leader Fatima Elatik stressed her distance from the campaign, which she found “not sensible”.