Once the burqa ban passed by the Dutch conservative coalition on Friday is approved by parliament, police will be obliged to enforce it.
RNW & RNW “The minister expects police to enforce the ban in accordance with the law”, Mr Opstelten’s spokesperson emphasised. The statement comes in response to criticism voiced by the National Police Union and the central works council of the national police force that is currently being set up.
A ban on wearing the full-face veil in public as proposed by the anti-Islam Freedom Party is included in the coalition agreement. But in a TV interview Mr Welten said his force would not arrest women for wearing the burqa or niqab. He admitted this was a form of “civil disobedience”.
On the website Al-yaqeen.com, the (Radical fundamentalist) Salafist As-Soenna group praises Mr Welten’s “courageous” remarks, adding “Evidently the Netherlands still has people in prominent positions whom it can be proud of.”
However, Mr Welten has come in for fierce criticism from the coalition parties, the VVD and Christian Democrats. A majority of MPs agree that he should withdraw his remarks and offer an apology.
Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders responded via Twitter that Mr Welten “has to enforce the law, and thus the pending burqa ban too, or pack his bags, either voluntarily or involuntarily”. The head of the Amsterdam professional organization for police officers, AVP, described the police chief’s remarks as “unwise”.
The chair of the police works council, Frank Giltay, had said there is no need for a burqa ban, which, he added, is unlikely to have any practical benefits. Burqas, he underlined, do not pose a threat to public security. (Giltay needs to be fired for his ignorance)
Green Left leader Jolande Sap also denounced the intended ban as a symbolic measure. Speaking on radio on Saturday morning, Ms Sap argued that women’s emancipation required different measures, such as education and language courses. (They have all the education and language courses they need and they still want to dress like chattel)