No fines, more aggression three years into burqa ban

AMSTERDAM - Three years after the Netherlands implemented its “burqa ban,” the police have not issued a single fine for violating it, RTL Nieuws reports based on figures from the National Police. But women who wear burqas or niqabs have experienced significantly more aggression, harassment, and discrimination. 


The Netherlands banned face-covering clothing in public transport, schools, government buildings, and healthcare precisely three years ago this week. The National Police confirmed to RTL that the police have not fined a single person for violating the ban. They issued a few warnings, mainly in the early days of the ban. 


An extensive survey among wearers of face-covering clothing, commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs, showed that since the ban's introduction, women who wear burqas and niqabs suffered much more harassment and violence. Offenders see the law as a license to harass these women, the researchers noted. 


The first major evaluation also showed that many women started to avoid public transport since the ban. Some said they avoided going to a healthcare institute because they feared confrontation. Some even said a doctor refused to treat them because of their face covering. 


Ironically, less than a year after the Netherlands banned face-covering clothing, the coronavirus pandemic broke out. Then the government asked people to wear face masks in public transport and indoor public spaces like government and healthcare buildings. 


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