The Netherland Cabinet plans to introduce a ban on the face-covering burka in all schools in the nation. Not only students, but teachers, parents and any visitor to a school, including anyone delivering goods, will faill under the ban. Private Islamic schools will also have to comply. An estimated 100 women in the Netherlands wear the all-encompassing Islamic garment. Education Mnister Ronald Plasterk said it was important for communication in classrooms for teachers and students to be able to observe one another’s faces. However, Plasterk, for the present is allowing colleges and universities to make their own decisions regarding the wearing of a burka.
Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced it would not allow civil servants to wear a burka. Health Minister Ab Klink is considering whether the burka should be banned from medical facilities. As a teacher who taught in college classrooms in which some women wore the burka, there were some problems in communication, particularly since at age 78, my hearing is not first class and I depend on reading lips. But, when all was said and done, I made arrangements and there was some give and take on the part of Muslim women in functioning as part of a group. If there are only a 100 women it strikes this writer as much ado about nothing since there is no major issue in the Netherlands about burkas except that which exists in some male minds.