THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Dutch lawmakers are debating a limited ban on Islamic burqas and niqabs and other face-covering clothing that would outlaw them in places including schools, hospitals and on public transport.
Only a few hundred Muslim women in the Netherlands wear burqas or niqabs, but successive governments have still sought to ban such veils and robes, following the example of other European countries such as France and Belgium.
If, as expected, the legislation passes Parliament's lower house, it must also be approved by the Senate before becoming law.
One opponent, Fatma Koser Kaya of the centrist D66 party, said Wednesday that the law was unnecessary because many institutions already can block people from wearing burqas.
She calls the legislation "symbolic lawmaking."