Denmark passes law banning burqa and niqab

Campaigners say ban violates rights to freedom of expression and religion

June 1, 2018

Women wearing niqabs outside the parliament in Copenhagen
 Women wearing niqabs stand outside the parliament in Copenhagen. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/AFP/Getty Images

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

In a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees on Thursday, Danish lawmakers approved the law presented by the centre-right governing coalition. The government said it is not aimed at any religions and does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.

But the law is popularly known as the “burqa ban” and is mostly seen as being directed at the dress worn by some Muslim women. Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils.

The justice minister, Søren Pape Poulsen, said it would be up to police officers to use their common sense when they see people violating the law, which comes into force on 1 August.

The legislation allows people to cover their face when there is a “recognisable purpose” such as cold weather or complying with other legal requirements, for example using motorcycle helmets under Danish traffic rules.

Those violating the law risk a fine of 1,000 kroner (£118). Repeat offenders could be fined up to 10,000 kroner.

AustriaFrance and Belgium have similar laws.

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe director, said of the Danish decision: “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa.

“While some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion.

“If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights, it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”

 This article was amended on 1 June 2018 to clarify that, according to Danish authorities, the penalties for repeat offending do not include a prison term.

Associated Press contributed to this report…

Categories: Denmark, Europe

Tagged as: , ,

3 replies

  1. To pass such a law costs millions. Just a few ladies wear it. Is it worth the cost? And why are you so scared? ‘phobia’ (Islamophobia) means you should see a psychologist.

  2. Ahmadiyyah should lead Muslim to obey the land of laws.

    If Dennark pass the law, it means the law of the land that should be followed sincerly, God will bless Muslim immigrant. If not God will punish Muslim who reject the law of the land.

    All love ❤️

    • your ‘tone’ of argument is not nice. Did you ever hear / read / watch that Ahmadi Muslims said we should NOT obey laws of the land? How many times did I tell you that our motto is that ‘Love for your Homeland is part of your Faith’? Did you not read / watch how many times the Head of our Community states that we want our people to integrate and take part in all activities of the host country / new country? So please do not even ‘suggest’ that Ahmadis are not doing that. Ahmadis do wear permissable hijab yes but not burkas by the way. Like ‘old citizens’ of a country we are permitted to voice our opinion. Not all citizens have equal views. In the USA you have democrats and republicans who do not agree an anything. That is freedom of expression. Please allow that for Muslims too.

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