Denmark joins some European nations in banning burqa, niqab

Danish parliament passes ban on burqa and niqab

DENMARK has banned the wearing of face veils in public, joining France and other parts of Europe in outlawing the burqa and the niqab worn by some Muslim women.

However, the law is popularly known as the "Burka Ban" and is mostly seen as being directed at the dress worn by some conservative Muslim women.

The ban will come into force on August 1. The first offense will cost 1,000 kroner ($156.00) and escalate to 10,000 kroner ($1568.00) by the fourth offense. The spokesperson on immigration and integration of the Danish People's Party explicitly cited a decade of efforts to ban the burqa and niqab in public, and vowed to push for new measures against the "Islamicisation of Denmark".

Thus the country joined other European countries, which have already introduced similar restrictions, including Austria, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands.

It is estimated that France's ban on burqas and niqabs affects only some 2,000 Muslim women, because that is the number of people - among a total of 5 million Muslims in France - believed to wear either wear a niqab or a burqa. "But some people use them to promote an ideology that, if they are successful, will mean many more lose their freedoms", Martin Henriksen, the Danish People's Party spokesperson on immigration issues, said, according to The Local DK.

A further option would be for women to be accompanied to a police station, where they would be collected by a family member, he added.

In a statement, Amnesty International said a ban was neither "necessary nor proportionate" and accused Denmark of violating freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Denmark has passed a law banning Islamic veils such as the niqab, which is worn here by a female protester in front of Russian Consulate in Istanbul on February 22.

Denmark has banned full veils but its government says it is not breaking rules against discrimination because headscarves, turbans and kippahs are still allowed.

In North America, the Canadian province of Montreal also banned face veils last October.

Most Muslim women in Denmark do not wear full-face veils. The study said that of the 150 women who wear the Islamic face veil in Denmark, around half are ethnic Danes who converted to Islam.

"Society has a special obligation to protect the fundamental rights of the child until they've reached an age and maturity where they can take on this responsibility themselves", the petition reads.

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