Muslim Woman
German Interior Minister Thomas de Meziere is considering introducing a burqa ban in Germany Reuters

Right-wing campaigners in Belgium are causing uproar across the country after offering a so-called 'burqa bounty' to people who report women wearing the full veil to police.

Riots broke out last week after a woman was arrested for refusing to take off her niqab (face veil) in Molenbeek, a Muslim-populated district of Brussels.

Filip Dewinter, a senior member of the right-wing party Vlaams Belang, has offered €250 (£200) to anyone who reports women flouting the law. Speaking to Reuters, he stated that the bounty is designed to put pressure on the police to enforce the outlawing of the veil.

"In this country there is a burqa ban, and the burqa ban has to be respected. But the police are not eager to intervene because they are afraid of the riots. That's why we are offering to every citizen who is spotting a burqa and who is telling this to the police a reward of 250 euros."

Belgium followed neighbours France in 2010 by banning Muslim women from wearing anything that totally covers the face, the body or both, fining them €150 (£120), if they're caught.

Dewinter continued that a ban in Belgium and France should be the first steps in a European wide ban of the burqa.

"We live in a free society. We live in a society where men and women are equal, and Islam has to respect that. So there has to be a burqa ban, and not only in this country but in the whole of Europe I think, because the burqa is the weapon of the radical Islam against the West."

The statement received a mixed reaction outside the central mosque in the Belgian capital. Schoolteacher Mrs El Talb told Reuters that religious freedom needed to be respected.

"Everyone can do whatever they want when it comes to religious freedom and freedom of speech. Everyone can say whatever they want. This is freedom of speech. He (Dewinter) is allowed to say whatever he wants. And these women can wear it, I don't mind. Everyone can do whatever they want. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, I think both need to be respected."

Ramzi Zergane, jokingly, put forward a counter-proposal.

"I find this proposal stupid, but Filip Dewinter is known for making only stupid proposals. The only way I can react is by giving 2,000 euros to the one who puts a burqa on Filip Dewinter because we just don't need people like him."

Belgian authorities say it is perfectly acceptable for women to sport a head scarf (hijab) in public, and that if someone felt insulted by the law they could file a complaint with the police.