Mayor questions aid for burqa-wearers

Sept. 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM
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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands, says women who reject job offers in order to continue wearing their burqas should not receive unemployment aid.

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen said in a recent interview if a woman insists on wearing the traditional Islamic head covering to the point she misses out on job opportunities, she should not expect to receive unemployment benefits, Radio Netherlands reported Monday.

"Personally, I think it's terrible to see a woman in a burqa. But whether or not I like something isn't a reason to forbid it," said Cohen, who opposes implementing a ban on burqas in Amsterdam.

"I agree that if you can't get work because you insist on wearing the burqa, you shouldn't apply for (unemployment) benefit," the mayor said.

Radio Netherlands said after officials in the town of Diemen, Netherlands, tried to limit benefits for unemployed burqa-wearers in 2006, an Amsterdam court reversed the ban and deemed it illegal.

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