Denmark bans wearing the burqa in public

Jun 02, 2018, 01:15
Denmark bans wearing the burqa in public

Denmark joined some other European countries in deciding to ban garments that cover the face, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa.

Parliament voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill presented by the centre-right governing coalition, which was originally proposed in February. This means all employers in the European Union can legally require employees to remove crosses, hijabs (Muslim headscarves), kippahs (Jewish skullcaps), dastars (Sikh turbans) or any other religious item they might wear.

"Anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine", says the law, which was passed by 75 votes to 30.

Justice Minister Soeren Pape Poulsen left the decision on the "common sense" of the police officers to call out on people violating the law.

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The legislation allows people to cover their face when there is a "recognisable purpose" such as cold weather or complying with other legal requirements, for example using motorcycle helmets under Danish traffic rules.

Fines will range from 1,000 Danish crowns (160 dollars) for a first offence to 10,000 crowns for the fourth violation.

The justice ministry and the police now will write more detailed guidelines.

"[The] Parliament has clearly stated that the burqa and niqab do not belong in Denmark", said Danish People's Party spokesperson Martin Henriksen. But such laws are often known as a "burqa ban" because it primarily impacts the dress worn by some Muslim women, the report states.

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Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Bulgaria have since implemented full or partial bans.

Van Gulik added that the law fails "abjectly" if its goal is to protect women's rights.

Muslim activists have claimed that European governments' attempts to ban face veils are more of a "symbolic stance" that frames Muslim women and their religious beliefs as antagonistic to European societies.

Along with Islamic full-face veils, balaclavas would also be banned, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Women in niqab in front of the Danish Parliament at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday May 31. They argued that if there is just one person who is being forced to do it then there should be a law, Warburg says.