Five years ago, I thought that news that the Dutch government were considering a burka ban to be a very bad idea.
Fast forward to today, and now the current Dutch Cabinet has voted in favour of the ban, despite advice from its most important advisory body, the Council of State.
As I said five years ago, this is taking a sledgehammer to crack the metaphorical nuts of between 150 and 200 women in the whole of the Netherlands (population: over 16.7 million):
While I happen to think that the garments say more about the odd ways in which women are viewed by one religion (and gawd knows, it ain’t the only one), I don’t think that banning them is going to help one bit towards the avowed intent of integration into Dutch society. It’s more likely to drive the “us and them” wedge further into this society’s hearts and minds.
What would be far more helpful is for public order to be preserved by coming down hard on extremists such as the Islamists who attempted to break up a public meeting in Amsterdam last December.