Head rag tax

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The head rag tax (Dutch: kopvoddentaks) is the pejorative name under which a tax on wearing headscarves in the Netherlands has been suggested by the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who founded and leads the Party for Freedom.[1]

Wilders made his suggestion of creating the headscarf tax on September 16, 2009 during the "General reflections". Those who wanted to wear headscarves would have to obtain a permit first and that would cost a thousand euros per year. This was a way for him to try to discourage people wearing a headscarf. The money would be used to finance women's shelters, for those trying to abandon Islam.

On Wilders' suggestion there was unbelief and criticism from other political parties. D66 party leader Alexander Pechtold wondered: "Is this a stand-up show?"[2] and he wanted to know if the hat of minister Plasterk would also fall under that tax definition.[3] The Egyptian-Dutch publicist Nahed Selim wondered if Wilders was inspired by a special tax for Jewish and Christians that existed in Islamic countries until the middle of the 19th century. She thought Wilders' suggestion was a missed opportunity and would have rather seen that he kept the attention on the islamisation of public space.[4]

When in November 2009 the tax plan was discussed, Teun van Dijck of the Freedom Party was challenged by parliament member Farshad Bashir (Socialist Party) to file an amendment. Van Dijck answered that he would not, because the proposal was not yet sorted out.[5]

In January 2010, journalist Karen Geurtsen of the magazine HP/De Tijd made public that at that time there was criticism on the idea within the Party for Freedom as well and that Wilders would later have admitted that he had gone too far. Geurtsen knew about the ins-and-outs within the Party for Freedom fraction because she was undercover as an intern. Wilders called it "total nonsense" that he would have admitted to an intern that his proposal went too far.[6]

In the party election program of 2010–2015 of the Freedom Party, the word "head-rag tax" is not mentioned; however, there is a plea for taxing headscarves.[7]