In the wake of riots triggered by the arrest of a Muslim woman who refused to remove her niqab, right-wingers in Belgium have intervened.
Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang, is offering 250 euros to anyone who reports a veiled woman to police. He claims the violence has made officers reluctant to enforce the law.
Belgium banned the wearing of the full face veil last year and women who do so risk a fine. Dewinter’s move has provoked a mixed response.
‘‘Everyone can do whatever they want when it comes to religious freedom and freedom of speech. Everyone can say whatever they want. This is freedom of speech. He is allowed to say whatever he wants. And these women can wear it, I don’t mind,” said a Muslim woman.
A shop assistant thought the idea was distasteful: “It’s not for me to denounce people like that and especially to earn money in that way.”
Comedian Ramzi Zerqane gave his opinion: “I find this proposal stupid. But Filip Dewinter is known for making only stupid proposals. The only way I can react is by giving 2,000 euros to the one who puts a burqa on Filip Dewinter.”
Dewinter claims the face veil is a textile prison for women and its use must be stopped.
Police in Brussels have dismissed the so-called ‘burqa bounty’ saying they remain obliged to uphold the law no matter what.