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Dutch burqa ban prompts concern for religion in the public square

.- A law professor at a Dutch university has noted concerns over the effects of a newly implemented law banning women from wearing burqas in some public places in the country, suggesting it will be to the detriment of religion’s role in the public square.

The Netherlands’ ban on wearing “face-covering clothing” in hospitals, schools, government buildings, and on public transit went into effect Aug. 1. The ban does not mention in particular the burqa, a body- and face-covering garmet, or the niqab, a face veil, worn by some Muslim women.

Violators can be assessed a 150euro ($167) fine.

“This undoubtedly has a chilling effect on their ability to take part in public life,” Dr. Tom Zwart, a professor of law, economics and administration at the University of Utrecht, told Sky News.

A federation of Dutch academic hospitals said that it was “not aware of any cases in which wearing face-covering clothing or a possible ban has led to problems” in healthcare, according to Sky News.

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