The Hague – The Dutch cabinet has decided against a general ban on burqas, clothing that covers the whole face except for the eyes. Burqas will only be banned at schools and for government workers.
The cabinet argues that a general ban would violate the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion.
Two years ago, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders proposed the introduction of a ban on wearing burqas in public.
The proposal led to widespread discussions and former integration minister Rita Verdonk drafted a bill, but a decision was never taken on legislation.
The conservative VVD and the Freedom Party have expressed disappointment at the cabinet decision.
They back a general ban because they believe that clothing that covers the face causes unacceptable feelings of insecurity among the general public.