Dutch parliament clears the way for the partial approval of an Islamic veil ban

The lower house of the Dutch parliament has approved a limited ban on face covering clothing including the burqa and the niqab.

The legislation, passed Tuesday by a large majority in the 150 seats of the house of representatives, must be approved by the upper house of parliament before being signed into law.

In a text to the Associated Press, the anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has called for the limited ban “a step in the right direction” and said that he will push for the burqa to be outlawed entirely if his right wing Freedom party wins the general elections in March.

Studies suggest that only a few hundred women in the netherlands wear niqab or full-face burqa, but successive governments have tried to ban, following the example of France and Belgium.

The proposal of the netherlands, described by the government as a “religion ” neutral”, not to go up to a complete ban on smoking implemented in the country. It applies on public transport and in educational institutions, health institutions such as hospitals and government buildings.

In a debate last week that paved the way for the vote, the minister of the interior, Ronald Plasterk, has acknowledged that the scandal about the burqa has played a major role in the prohibition of the approval.

But Plasterk, the Labour party, has said that people should be allowed to appear in public with their faces covered if they wanted to, but in government buildings, schools and hospitals, it is essential to be able to look him in the face.

The maximum amount of the fine for the violation of the ban, which also covers ski masks and full-face helmets, is a little over €400 (£340).