Dutch Queen to far-right: headscarf row is ‘nonsense’

'You adjust out of respect for a religion'

THE HAGUE (Netherlands) - Popular Dutch Queen Beatrix described Thursday an outcry by the country's far-right after she was seen wearing a headscarf while visiting a mosque in Oman as "nonsense", Dutch media reported.
"It is really nonsense," the 72-year-old monarch was quoted by reporters with her on a state visit to Oman, where television pictures showed her at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque sporting a red headscarf draped over her traditional black hat.
She had also worn a headscarf during a visit to Abu Dhabi a few days earlier on the trip accompanied by her son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima, who wore a turquoise headscarf in Oman.
The row was sparked by questions posed in the Dutch parliament by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders' far right Party for Freedom (PVV), which backs Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling coalition government.
The PVV said it regarded the headscarf as a symbol of female oppression and wanted to know whether Rutte agreed.
In her reaction, the queen added she wore the headscarf because "you adjust out of respect for a religion," Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported.
Rutte agreed in his answer to the PVV's questions posted online, saying, "Proper respect for dress code should be shown when visiting a place of worship."
Wilders, who has likened the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and wants headscarves banned, was acquitted on hate speech charges last year for statements attacking Islam.