The Dutch government is to extend a ban on the burka to all schools, a measure that includes a prohibition on Muslim mothers from picking their children while wearing face-covering Islamic dress.
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 3:55PM BST 09 Sep 2008
Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch education minister, announced that the ban would apply to all schools, including private Muslim religious establishments, and their immediate surroundings.
Not only teachers, but parents and all visitors to schools, including suppliers making deliveries, will be forbidden the burka, even though only 100 women in the Netherlands, out of a population of 16.5 million, are estimated to wear it.
Legislation is expected to be agreed by the Dutch parliament next year.
Mr Plasterk has cited security concerns and the need for teachers and schoolchildren to be able to communicate properly with each other.
“It is important for children to learn that proper communication requires being able to look the other person in the eye,” he said to Dutch MPs.
The legendary tolerance of the Dutch has been tested by years of controversy over the burka and radical Islam in the Netherlands.