Now deal with Wilders has collapsed Dutch minister says ‘burqa ban’ law is no longer needed

Outgoing interior minister Liesbeth Spies says the burqa ban she helped prepare can be scrapped along with a proposed ban on holding dual citizenship.

Now that the cabinet has fallen, she says she “wouldn’t shed a tear” if parliament were to scrap the controversial Freedom Party-sponsored bill. “Now the cabinet has fallen, there’s no longer any payoff,” she told national daily de Volkskrant on Wednesday.

The Dutch minority coalition originally approved the ban at the end of January 2012. The proposed legislation included a ban on all face-covering clothing items such as burqas, niqabs, balaclavas and full-face crash helmets. The burqa ban was part of the governing coalition agreement.

At the time, Liesbeth Spies said, “it is important that people in an open society meet each other in an open way.” A government statement released at the time said: “having to wear a burqa or niqab in public goes against the equality of men and women. With this legislation, the cabinet is removing a barrier to these women participating in society.”

RNW, 2 May 2012