Flemish costal towns ban Islamic burka

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BRUSSELS ó Three Belgian coastal municipalities are moving to ban Muslim women from wearing a burka.

The municipalities of De Panne, Koksijde and Nieuwpoort have drawn up a proposal that will be presented to town councils in the near future.

The proposal was drawn up on request from the police and will be part of a general ban on disguises.

The ban comes after several incidents in which residents raised alarm during end-of-school celebrations. Some youths had dressed up as gangsters.

The chief of the West Coast police zone, Johan Geeraert, said local officers had also complained about the Islamic burka.

He said police often encounter women dressed in a burka, especially near tobacco shops in Adinkerke. The wearing of a burka makes it difficult for the women to be inspected.

“We want to give our police officers legal certainty with the new regulation. Everyone must be recognisable,” Geeraert said.

The ban on disguises will not apply to certain celebrations such as Carnival, Sinterklaas and Christmas. It means that Sinterklaas and Santa Claus are still welcome.

The three coastal municipalities are not the first to impose a ban on the burka. The Limburg municipality of Maaseik has also imposed a similar ban.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Expatica, Netherlands
Feb. 15, 2006

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