Denmark bans burqa in public spaces

In a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees, Danish lawmakers approved the law presented by the center-right governing coalition. The law does not ban headscarves, turbans, Jewish skull caps or face coverings worn for a "recognizable purpose" during cold weather or while riding a motorcycle.

Interestingly, this new law, popularly dubbed as "Burqa Ban" is seen as targeting Muslim women in the country who choose to wear a particular type of clothing.

Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils. Violators would receive fines of about $156 for a first-time offense, and up to $1,568 for the fourth violation.

Denmark now follows in the footsteps of several other European countries which have also banned the full-face veil, fully or partially, including France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Belgium, Germany, and parts of Switzerland.

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

Speaking about the law, Denmark's Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen said the ban was about Danish values.

The wording of the new legislation does not specifically mention Muslim women but says that "anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine".

Women in the niqab walk in front of the Danish Parliament at Christiansborg Castle, in Copenhagen.

"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.

Denmark has become the latest European country to ban face-covering garments like burqas. "We would be happy to see governments addressing real problems and security issues that Muslim women face in their everyday life".

"The law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold", she said.

But in April 2011, the government went further by bringing in a total public ban on full-face veils. Fifty-five percent of Christians in Denmark who go to religious services at least once a month agree that Islam is incompatible with Danish culture. People can also be required to remove facial coverings in order to match them with their identity papers.


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