Welfare and the burqa in the Netherlands

The Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, says in an interview with Dutch daily Trouw that he opposes the wearing of burqas. Cohen adds that his personal dislike is not sufficient grounds to ban them outright, but according to Cohen the person wearing a burqa ought to assume responsibility for the economic consequences. If the person wearing the burqa is unable to find employment for reason of wearing the burqa, Cohen argues, she ought not be eligible for government welfare payments. In preliminary responses, a number of Dutch MPs voiced support for such a policy. In a response, a spokesman of the city of Amsterdam argues that it has been policy for years to request that a person change his or her appearance if the appearance poses an obstacle to success in the labor market (for example, of people wearing piercings).