THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch government is seeking to introduce a limited ban on "face-covering clothing," in what is widely interpreted as a new attempt to outlaw burqas, the head-to-toe Islamic robe worn by only a few hundred women in this nation of 17 million.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday his ruling coalition has drawn up a proposal aimed at banning people from wearing clothing that obscures the face on public transport and in schools, government buildings and medical institutions.
The proposal will be sent to a panel of legal advisers for assessment. The panel was heavily critical in 2012 of an attempt by the government to ban burqas, saying it breached religious freedom provisions in the Dutch constitution.
Rutte insists the move is not targeting any particular religious group.