Netherlands to Ban Face Veils in Public Places

The Dutch government on Friday agreed to introduce a partial ban on the wearing of the full-face veil in public places. The proposed ban, which must be approved by parliament before it can become law, would apply to all face-covering clothing, including ski-masks and helmets, on public transport and in schools, hospitals and government offices. Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists in The Hague that the measure "had nothing to do with religion. In a free country like the Netherlands, everyone has the right to dress how they choose, no matter what others think." Anti-Islam opposition politician Geert Wilders, whose far right policies have won him widespread support among Dutch voters, has long sought a ban on face veils and burqas. Wilders told Dutch television on Friday the proposed measure was "weak".