Denmark's Parliament bans wearing of face veils in public

Danish MPs greenlight ban on wearing burqa & niqab in public

Denmark's center-right government enacted the law with a vote of 75-30, with 74 absent, The Associated Press reported. The government says the law is not aimed at religious groups, but human rights advocates have criticized the rule as unnecessary.

While the wording of the new legislation does not specifically mention Muslim women-it cites "anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public" as grounds for a penalty-the law has been widely dubbed a "burqa ban".

Those violating the law, which comes into force on 1 August, risk a fine of 1,000 kroner (£118). Repeated violations will be fined up to 10,000 kroner. Anyone who forces another person to cover their face could be thrown in jail for up to two years.

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

"I don't think there are many who wear the burqa here in Denmark".

It is not known how many women wear the burqa in Denmark. Once it is in place, police will be able to tell women wearing a veil to remove it or order them to leave public places, according to Reuters.

"If the intention of this law was to protect women's rights, it fails abjectly", said Europe director Gauri van Gulik.

Telling women how to dress doesn't liberate them - it denies them the right to make their own choices. "It is incompatible with the values in Danish society and disrespectful to the community to keep one's face hidden when meeting each other in public spaces", Justice Minister, Søren Pape Poulsen had said.

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

Across Europe, several countries have moved to ban face veils in recent years, with France becoming the first to do so in Western Europe in 2011.

Women in niqab in front of the Danish Parliament at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday May 31. It instead broadly outlaws garments that cover the face.

A French-Algerian businessman, Rachid Nekkaz, has recently said he would offer to pay for fines issued in Denmark as he has done in other countries with similar bans.

At least half of Germany's 16 states have bans on teachers and public servants wearing full-face veils.

In early 2018, the Danish Parliament introduced a new process called the "Citizen's Initiative" that allows people to put items of interest on the parliamentary agenda, provided they have the support of 50,000 individuals.

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