Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dutch burqa ban maximum fine to be 380 euros

Women wearing the Islamic burqa full body cloak or niqab face veil in public will soon be subject to a maximum fine of 380 euros. The planned measure is to be discussed by the Dutch cabinet on Friday.
A ‘burqa ban’ formed part of the minority Dutch government’s programme agreed with the populist Freedom Party PVV on whose parliamentary support the cabinet relies.
The senior partner in the coalition, the conservative VVD, is in favour of a general ban on people wearing clothes that cover the face including not only burqas but also balaclavas and helmets with opaque visors. On the VVD website, it is argued that people can find such clothing threatening.
The Christian Democrats are the smaller party in the coalition and say: “Clothing covering the face makes it harder to indentify people, hinders communication and makes people feel less safe”.
From 2007, the PVV has called for a ‘burqa ban’ punishable by higher fines and even imprisonment. It describes the garment as “an expression of the rejection of the West’s core values”.
It is estimated that about 150 women in the Netherlands always wear the burqa or niqab when they go out in public. A maximum of a few hundred women wear the garments occasionally.

France bans Street prayers by Muslims

September 16, 2011
STREET prayers are banned in Paris as of today – a measure understood to mainly target Muslims who congregate in the Goutte d’Or area for Friday prayers.

The practice also takes place in other parts of France, most commonly Nice and Marseille, and it is thought the ban may be rolled out nation-wide, said France Soir.
In Paris than 1,000 people have been meeting for prayers in rues Myrha and Polonceau at 14.00 on Fridays, according to Interior Minister Claude Guéant, who says this “occupation of a public space by a religious practice” shocks passers-by and “contravenes the principle of laicity”.

Muslims in the Goutte d’Or area, which has a large Arab and African population, have become used to street prayers over the last few years, since the closure of a large local mosque capable of holding 4,000 meant that other smaller venues in the area were unable to accommodate everyone.

The ban coincides with the opening for prayers in the area of an old fire station, in an agreement with the city council. This will be a temporary measure until a new Islamic Cultural Centre opens in about two years.

Mr Guéant has said force will be used if necessary if people persist in praying in the street.

It is expected however that the ban will cause immediate problems this afternoon due to people not wanting to change their habits. “We are not cattle,” one Imam told France Soir.

He added the new premises were not fitted out completely to their satisfaction and there are issues remaining over the cost of the rent and whether or not the premises can be used all week long.

“I’m in a difficult position and fear a climate of anarchy,” he said.