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Dutch Parliament OKs Limited Ban On 'Face-Covering Clothing'

Women wearing the niqab (file photo)

The Dutch parliament has passed legislation banning "face-covering clothing" -- including Islamic robes and veils -- in public buildings.

The upper house of parliament made the final approval in a vote on June 26, after the lower chamber passed corresponding draft legislation in 2016.

The new law bans all face-covering garb such as full-face helmets and ski masks in public buildings.

It was billed as a way to make schools, government offices, hospitals, and public transport safer, but critics said it is aimed at getting rid of the burqa and niqab worn by some Muslim women.

The ban does not apply to public streets, although police can ask an individual to remove face-covering clothing for identification.

Austria, Belgium, France, and other European countries have imposed some restrictions in recent years on the wearing in public places of clothes that cover the face.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP