From Associated Press
By MIKE CORDER, Associated Press – January 12, 2012
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch Queen Beatrix took on the fiery leader of her country’s anti-Muslim party on Thursday by dismissing as “nonsense” his criticism of her decision to wear a head scarf during a recent visit to a mosque.
The queen made her unusually forthright comment to Dutch reporters covering her state visit this week to the United Arab Emirates and Oman, National broadcaster NOS reported.
Her comments were not recorded, but Beatrix told reporters she wore the head scarf in the UAE on Sunday, and again on a visit to an Oman mosque Thursday, to show religious respect.
The popular monarch was responding to questions from reporters about parliamentary questions filed by anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, who called the monarch’s decision to cover her head on a visit to a mosque in Abu Dhabi on Sunday “a sad exhibition” that “legitimizes the oppression of women.”
It is rare for the queen to respond so directly — and dismissively — to criticism from a political party in this nation where the unelected head of state’s role is largely ceremonial.
Wilders is a staunch opponent of Islamic head scarves and head-to-toe burqa robes for women. He is not alone in the Netherlands, where the government has announced plans to ban burqas.