Dutch laws increasingly target Muslims’ rights

A series of laws recently enacted in the Netherlands have increased discrimination against Muslims and the violation of their rights, Dutch academics are warning.

Martijn de Koning of Amsterdam University's Anthropology and Sociology Department told Anadolu Agency (AA) that legal regulations affecting religious groups have been made in the past in the Netherlands, but recent steps are now aimed entirely at Muslims.

In August, the Netherlands brought into force a ban on burqas — a full body covering including a face veil worn by some Muslim women – in public institutions.

Clothing that "covers the face," such as burqas or veils no longer to be worn in public institutions such as schools, hospitals and government offices or on buses and trains, authorities said in August when the new law came into force. The ban was first proposed by far-right politician Geert Wilders in 2005.

In May, the Dutch parliament introduced a bill for the second time to ban ritual slaughter of animals, which would prohibit the methods of humane slaughter followed by Muslim and Jewish communities.

In addition to the burqa ban and restrictions on the animal slaughtering practices, Dutch Education Minister Arie Slob in September ordered a review of schools providing Islamic education.

"Cases such as the ban against halal slaughter and restriction of religious education have affected other religious groups as well. However, with the recent ban on burqas, we have seen that the aim of religious regulations is aimed only at Muslims," Koning said, adding that this is a serious situation and the government needs to do something about it.

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