Amsterdam councilor dons yellow burka for Pride parade

The stunt was in response to a new law by the Dutch government that came into effect last week, which banned the wearing of face-covering garments such as a burka or niqab in public institutions.

By ALEX WINSTON
August 7, 2019 12:48
1 minute read.
Amsterdam councilor dons yellow burka for Pride parade

Burka illustrative. (photo credit: LEONHARD FOEGER / REUTERS)

A Labour Party councilor in the Dutch capital Amsterdam has faced criticism for dressing up in a yellow niqab, a traditional Muslim garment that covers a woman's face except for her eyes, during an LGBT rally.

A photograph posted on the party's official Twitter feed showed Councillor Hendrik Jan Biemon and several other people dressed in different colored niqabs to symbolize the colors of the Pride movement, while holding placards describing themselves as "burka queens."

The post said, "The Amsterdam Labour Party believes that freedom means you can be who you are and wear what you want."


The stunt was in response to a new law by the Dutch government that came into effect last week, which banned the wearing of face-covering garments such as a burka or niqab in government buildings, schools and on public transport.

The new law was first brought before parliament 13 years ago, but 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 have stated that while a burka or niqab wearer will be breaking the law, they would need to involve the police to refuse somebody entry.  

Dutch broadcaster NOS quoted the police as saying that they will "not drive after a tram in which someone is sitting who is breaking the ban on face-covering clothing."

Another Labour politician, Marjolein Moorman, responded to Biermon's stunt and said on Twitter: "For me, a burka symbolizes the inequality of women and men. A man may show himself freely, but the woman must cover himself. That has nothing to do with freedom for me."


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