AMSTERDAM – A proposed ban on the wearing of Muslim face-veils in the Netherlands is likely to be dropped following the collapse of alliance between the Dutch government and anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders’ party.
"These policies were driven by PVV but also by this government in order to maintain their relationship with PVV,” Maurits Berger, professor of Islam in the contemporary West at Leiden University, told Reuters.
She said the proposed ban on the face-veil (niqab) could soon be taken “off the table” after the Dutch government fell last week.
|Anti-Islam MP Brings Dutch Govt Down|
The government of Premier Mark Rutte fell after the collapse of alliance between his minority coalition and Wilder’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party (PVV) over disagreement on crucial budget cuts.
An election has been called for September 12.
In return for Wilders' support in parliament, the government had proposed a number of laws, including bans on Muslim face veils and on dual nationality.
Now after the government collapse, there will be no enough majority to support the proposed ban on the face-veil.
The Christian Democrats will no longer support a proposal to ban dual nationality, a source within the party told Reuters.
The party also feels uneasy about the face veil ban, Dutch daily De Volkskrant said.
Many opposition parties, including Labor, Democrats 66 and GreenLeft, had already opposed the proposed face veil and dual nationality bans, leaving the proposals without majority support in parliament if the Christian Democrats don't back them.
Now that the government has fallen, Dutch Immigration Minister Gerd Leers will no longer push for issues such as the need to make it harder for immigrants to bring in other family members, his spokesman said.
Analysts believe that Wilders’ party has aimed to turn the Netherlands into a pariah.
“They have turned Holland into a pariah," Berger told Reuters.
Over the past decade there has been a pronounced shift in the Netherlands towards tougher immigration policies, pushed by politicians like Pim Fortuyn and, more recently, by Wilders.
Since storming onto the political scene in 2004, Wilders has made a significant mark.
He has influenced Dutch immigration policy and set the tone of public debate, whether on Muslims and burqas or bailouts and the euro, in what once would have been regarded as politically incorrect language.
Wilders is notorious for his rants against Islam and Muslims.
He has also called for banning the Noble Qur’an, describing the Muslim holy book as “fascist”.
In 2008, Wilders released a 15-minute documentary accusing the Qur'an of inciting violence.His party’s anti-Islam campaigns, however, have helped it make its biggest gains since Wilders has founded it in 2006.
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