Dutch government stops Muslim women from wearing full-length veils in public places.
Vox reports that wearing the burqa - which covers the entire face and body - and the niqab - which covers only the face in places like schools and hospitals is now a criminal offense in a country in Europe called the Netherlands.
Thanks to this new law, women with face veils on public streets can be asked by the police to remove it for identification purposes and anyone found wearing full-length veils will be subject to a fine of 405 euros, or about $472.
Reactions to the new law
Supporters of the ban claim that the fact that the ban does not apply to the hijab but includes wearing ski masks and full-face helmets is proof that it is "religion-neutral," The Associated Press reports.
But this has not stopped people from criticising it as they point out its impact specifically on Muslim communities.
For Ruard Ganzevoort, a senator for the country's Green Party, the law is "completely disproportionate."
"The only effect will be that many of these women will stay at home even more," Ganzevoort told the AP. "They will not have an opportunity to go to school. They will not have an opportunity to go to learn to swim, and all those things."
The European Forum of Muslim Women, a coalition of 17 regional Muslim organizations, referred to it as a "basic infringement of Muslim women's rights."
In an interview with HuffPost, Hajar El Jahidi, the group's advocacy coordinator, said, "It sends a message to society that these women aren't normal and that we have to make special laws for them. That they are not like us, they're not like other Dutch citizens."
She added, "I think the common ground for all these laws is that people have a problem with Islam and the visibility of Muslim women. They don't even want to see these women in the public sphere."
This law, which was passed by the Dutch upper house of Parliament, will officially go into effect on January 1, 2019.