Denmark full-face veil ban 'discriminatory'

Marsha Scott
June 2, 2018

Denmark has joined several other European countries in banning garments that cover the face, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa, in a move condemned by human rights campaigners as "neither necessary nor proportionate".

Denmark on Thursday banned the wearing of face veils in public, effectively restricting the burqa and niqab worn by some Muslim women.

The punishment for violating the new law comes at a hefty price as well. The first offense will cost 1,000 kroner ($156.00) and escalate to 10,000 kroner ($1568.00) by the fourth offense.

Those ignoring the law could face an initial fine of £118 - followed by up to six months in jail or an £11,000 fine for repeat offences.

However, as is abundantly clear, the law has primarily been created to prevent Muslims wearing the burqa and niqab, although technically it also applies to false beards, masks and hoods that cover the face.

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

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Danish minister called facial coverings 'incompatible with Danish values'.

Technically the law bans any full-face garment where there is no "recognisable purpose" for wearing it, such as cold weather or complying with laws such as wearing helmets on motorcycles. Measures short of a complete ban can be instituted to address security concerns, such as allowing covered women to unveil in private spaces and be checked by female security officers.

The ban is the latest in a series to be approved by European lawmakers.

In February, when the Danish government formally proposed the face veil ban, Poulsen said that such veils were "disrespectful" to the community.

The new law does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap. For those in favor of a ban, it didn't really matter that there is a tiny number of women wearing the Islamic face veil.

Van Gulik added that the law fails "abjectly" if its goal is to protect women's rights. In order to quell allegations of discrimination, the wording of the law deliberately avoids mentioning religious veils, stating instead in general terms: "In the public sphere, no-one must wear an item of clothing that serves to cover the face". Arguments that banning the burqa or niqab helps liberate women also miss the point.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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