Tracy at Broadsheet does a fine job of pointing out the fact that this ban is culturally motivated, but I’ll add that it’s problematic because it relegates an entire class of women to the private sphere. Many women who wear the burqa, by choice or by coercion, are not going to (or not going to be allowed to) take it off when they step outside. Instead, they’ll be prisoners in their own homes. I don’t like the burqa, and I can certainly understand the visceral reaction to it. But banning it only serves one purpose: To allow non-Muslim Dutch people to not have to see covered women. To save them their discomfort. And in the meantime, those women who wear the burqa are trapped. They can’t leave their homes. They can’t go grocery shopping. They can’t pick their kids up from school. They can’t go to the doctor’s office. They can’t seek out social services if they need them, like domestic violence help. They’re trapped because of their deeply-held religious beliefs.
I think their interpretation of that belief is incorrect. I think that the burqa is inherently misogynist. I think men need to buck up and take responsibility for their own gaze instead of requiring women to behave defensively. But I don’t think any of that is worth imprisoning women and effectively disallowing them from walking out their front doors. And bans on religiously-mandated clothing are always bad for the women who wear that clothing.