LONDON - Dutch rights activists and Muslim groups fear nativist vigilantes will try to enforce a controversial headwear ban that took effect last week.
Dutch police, transport companies and municipal authorities have expressed a reluctance to enforce the ban on face-covering clothing. The new law criminalizes Muslim women for wearing either the all-covering burqa or the niqab, which covers everything but the eyes, in many public places.
Public transport companies have instructed their staffers to ignore the ban, and police chiefs say enforcing the controversial ban is not a high priority.
“That means the law is unworkable,” Pedro Peters, a transport spokesman, told local media, as “the police told us they will not attend incidents at a train, bus or metro within half an hour. So, that means we would be stuck, but the service can’t be interrupted.”
He added: “We never asked for this law, and the practice [of wearing niqabs] has never caused problems. Transport must always go on. We are not going to stop trams and metros because someone is wearing a burqa or motorbike helmet.”
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