Dutch bus driver calls police on niqab-wearer who refused to get off

The driver reportedly asked the woman several times to remove her veil or get off the bus. When she refused to do so, the driver called the police.

By ALEX WINSTON
August 21, 2019 13:07
1 minute read.
Arriva bus [illustrative]

Arriva bus [illustrative]. (photo credit: JAN OOSTERHUIS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A bus driver in the Dutch city of Limburg has become the first person to refuse to continue to drive after a woman wearing a niqab got on his bus.

The driver reportedly asked the woman several times to remove her veil or get off the bus. When she refused to do so, the driver called the police.

A controversial new law banning the public wearing of the niqab or burkha was in discussion by successive Dutch governments for a number of years before finally coming into effect on August 1. There has been some confusion as to how the ban will work in practice, with different institutions saying the burka will be allowed because of privacy laws, including certain parts of the health sector, and public transportation.

Public transport owners had previously stated that while a burka or niqab wearer will be breaking the law, they would need to involve the police to refuse somebody entry.

Bus company Arriva said the driver had failed to follow company guidelines on dealing with people who wear a niqab or burka in public. A spokesperson for the company said that while drivers can request a niqab-wearer leave the bus, they should not refuse to drive if the woman does not comply.

The law has already caused some controversy in the Netherlands. At the beginning of August a Labour Party councilor in the Dutch capital Amsterdam faced criticism for dressing up in a yellow niqab during an LGBT rally, and Nijmegen city council was forced to apologize to a woman wearing a niqab who was ordered to leave a children’s playground by workers.


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