Netherlands approves plans for face-covering veil ban

Unidentified Muslim woman (September 2004) Image copyright PA
Image caption Face-covering veils have become a political issue in several European countries

The Dutch cabinet has approved plans for a partial ban on wearing the face-covering Islamic veil in public places including schools, hospitals and on public transport.

However, the proposed ban will not apply to wearing the veils on the streets, officials say.

Those who flout the ban could be fined up to €405 ($450;£290).

Only a few hundred women in the Netherlands are thought to wear burkas, most of them only occasionally.

The proposed new law will be sent to a panel of legal advisers for assessment, reports say.

The panel was heavily critical of an effort in 2012 by the government to ban burkas, saying it breached constitutional religious freedom provisions.

"Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport," the government said in a statement after the cabinet approved Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk's bill.

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