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Dutch government looks to ban veils in public

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The Dutch government will introduce a bill to ban veils in public places, the council of ministers said on Friday, citing security concerns.

The ban would prohibit "the wearing of clothing that covers the face in public and semi-public places," a statement from the ministry said.

Rita Verdonk, minister of immigration and integration, said the bill proposed a ban on the face-covering hijab on the basis it constituted a risk to public order and safety.

"Semi-public" places would include schools, courts, ministries and trains, her spokesman Martin Bruinsma told AFP.

The Dutch parliament last year called on the government to ban the burqa, the floor length veil with only a mesh for the eyes. Only a few dozen women wear are estimated to wear the garment in the Netherlands.



AFP 172039 GMT 11 06

COPYRIGHT 2006 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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