Norway is planning to outlaw the use of face-covering veils worn by Muslim women in kindergartens, schools and universities, the government said Monday, the latest European nation to propose restrictions on wearing burqas and niqabs.
Norway's minority government, a coalition of the center-right Conservatives and the populist Progress Party, said it was confident it would find opposition support for the move.
"We have every reason to believe this will be approved by parliament," Education Minister Torbjoern Roe Isaksen told Reuters.
Norway, which will hold elections on Sept. 11, will be the first country in the Nordics to introduce a ban on burqas for both adults and children.
"Face-covering garment such as the niqab or burqa do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value," acting Minister of Immigration and Integration, Per Sandberg, told a news conference.
Employees who insist on wearing a veil would risk losing their jobs, and students could face expulsion from university, he added.
France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed restrictions on wearing full-face veils in public places.
In May, the Austrian government also passed legislation to outlaw the use of garments that fully cover the face of women, such as the burqa, as well as the distribution of the Holy Qur'an in public.