The Dutch Cabinet moved a step closer Friday to banning the burqa, making good on an election promise that is largely symbolic but has broad public support.

Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen said the Cabinet agreed on plans to ban the head-to-toe Islamic gown along with other forms of face-covering clothing including ski masks. The legislation must still be approved by both houses of the Dutch Parliament, a process that could take months.

“We are confident we have a majority,” Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies said.

Once seen as one of the world’s most tolerant nations, the Netherlands has turned increasingly conservative in recent years and is pushing immigrants more to fully assimilate into mainstream Dutch society.

Anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders welcomed the decision in a tweet as “fantastic news.” Wilders’ popularity has soared largely due to his strident criticism of Islam, and he has long called for a ban on burqas and similar Islamic face veils known as niqabs.

Even so, the move is largely symbolic — only about 300 women in the Netherlands are believed to wear burqas and they are rarely seen in public.

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