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Denmark bans wearing face veils in public including the Islamic burqa

Women wearing burqas in public. (Flickr/Marius Arnesen)
June 01, 2018

Denmark is the latest of several European countries to ban the wearing of face veils in public, including the burqa and niqab.

The law was passed by 75 votes to 30 in parliament, with 74 abstentions on Thursday. The ban will come into effect on Aug. 1.

Anyone violating the law could receive a fine of 1,000 kroner (about $122 U.S.) for their first offense, and they could see a fine 10 times higher if they violate the law on multiple occasions.

People will be allowed to cover their faces in some circumstances, including when the weather is cold or wearing helmets riding a motorcycle.

While the ban is not aimed at any particular religion, the ban is being called the “burqa ban.” The burqa is a form of dress worn by Muslim women that covers the face.

Other countries that have banned face veils include France, Belgium, Bavaria, Austria and Bulgaria.

“In terms of value, I see a discussion of what kind of society we should have with the roots and culture we have, that we don’t cover our face and eyes, we must be able to see each other and we must also be able to see each other’s facial expressions, it’s a value in Denmark,” Denmark’s Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen said.

Amnesty International called the ban “a discriminatory violation of women’s rights.”

“If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights, it fails abjectly,” Amnesty International’s Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said. “Instead, the law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing, and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”