Muslims condemn burqa ban

Nov. 20, 2006 at 10:55 AM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Muslims in the Netherlands say a move by the Dutch government to ban the wearing of burqa by Muslim women is an attempt to win the anti-immigration vote.

Islam and immigration are major issues but the two have not come up much in the campaign so far. The integration of Muslims has gained importance since the killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh two years ago, reports Britain's Independent newspaper.

The burqa issue came up last week after the hard-line immigration minister Rita Verdonk in the outgoing government said the Cabinet decided that any face-covering attire worn in public including the burqa is undesirable for security reasons. She said, "From a security standpoint, people should always be recognizable and, from the standpoint of integration, we think people should be able to communicate with one another."

Mohamed Hamidi, a spokesman for the Moroccan community in Rotterdam, said, "This is populism, playing with the feelings of the people."

A spokesman for the Dutch Muslim organization, CMO, called the measure "just ridiculous" and a "big law for a small problem."

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