You Can Smoke Weed In Amsterdam, But Maybe Just Not In A Niqab

The Dutch parliament voted on Tuesday to ban niqabs in some public places.

The law, passed by the lower house but still requiring the senate’s approval, bans veils and other items that hide the face such as ski masks and helmets, in places where identifying the wearer is considered essential, including government buildings, public transport, schools and hospitals.

Few women in the Netherlands wear niqab, but a ban has long been a demand of Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam opposition Freedom Party, which is leading in polls ahead of elections in March.

Full and partial face veils such as burqas and niqabs divide opinion in Europe, setting religious freedom advocates against secularists and those who say that the garments are culturally alien or a symbol of the oppression of women.