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Dutch MPs asked to reconsider burqa ban as women report rise in abuse

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FILE - In this Monday Jan. 21, 2013 file photo, a woman wearing a full-face veil known as niqab, pushes a baby stroller on snow-covered streets in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
FILE - In this Monday Jan. 21, 2013 file photo, a woman wearing a full-face veil known as niqab, pushes a baby stroller on snow-covered streets in Amsterdam, Netherlands.   -   Copyright  Peter Dejong/AP
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The Dutch government is being asked to reconsider a law banning face coverings in some public spaces after a new report suggests it's led to an increase in physical and verbal abuse.

The so-called burqa ban has been in place since August 2019 and women who cover their faces on public transport or in buildings including schools and hospitals risk a 150 euro fine. The law doesn't apply to garments such as the hijab or chador that cover the hair but leave the face exposed.

Rahma Bavelaar is co-founder of the Report Islamophobia Foundation. She says it's time to lift the ban:

"It's a blatant violation of religious freedom and the law has not achieved what it purportedly set out to do, which is to improve public safety and to improve interpersonal communication. There are very good reasons to end this type of policing of women's dress."

To listen to the full interview with Rahma Bavelaar, click on the media player above.