Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Denmark passes law to ban use of burqa, niqab from August 1

Denmark passes law to ban use of burqa, niqab from August 1

Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils.

Parliament voted on Thursday for the law, proposed by the centre-right government, by 75 votes to 30, with 74 abstentions.

France was the first European country to ban the niqab in public places with a law that took effect in 2011.

After the law goes into effect on August 1, first-time offenders face a fine of 1,000 kroner ($156). If caught at least four times, they would have to pay up to 10,000 kroner ($1,600). During the weeks-long parliamentary procedure, the government removed a provision allowing prison sentences as potential punishment for breaking the law, reported The Local Denmark.

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"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.

Women wearing niqab exit the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 31, 2018.

Islam is the only major world religion that requires women to be completely covered when leaving their home, in accord with Sharia law.

Ibn Hssain, who says she has been yelled at and spat at in public for wearing the niqab, will stay for now in Denmark despite the ban.

Widely known as the "Burqa Ban", the measure is perceived by critics as targeting Muslim women who choose to cover themselves with the burqa, a head to toe garment, or the niqab, a cloth covering the face.

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International's Europe director, told The Guardian, "All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs".

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. Supporters of the ban say that covering the face is a form of oppression for women and poses security risks.

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

"This blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate, and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion".

Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen welcomed the outcome, and said he was confident the ban would be respected, he told public broadcaster DR.

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