Denmark on Thursday followed in the footsteps of several European countries and introduced a ban on clothes that cover the face, including Islamic veils such as the burqa and niqab.
The ban, which will come into effect from August 1, was passed in the Danish Parliament in a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees, reported The Guardian. The law was presented by Denmark’s centre-right governing coalition. The government said the bill is not aimed at any religion and does not ban headscarves, turbans or the Jewish skull cap.
Those violating the law will have to pay a fine of 1,000 kroner (Rs 10,595). 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.
“[The] Parliament has clearly stated that the burqa and niqab do not belong in Denmark,” said Danish People’s Party spokesperson Martin Henriksen. “They are incompatible with Danish culture and the foundations on which Denmark is built.”
Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen in April said the Danish police will not forcibly remove veils from women. “If they live nearby, they will be asked to go home,” Poulsen had said.
The law, popularly known as the “burqa ban”, is seen as being directed at the dress worn by some Muslim women. Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils, reported The Guardian.
The burqa has become a political issue in several major European countries. France became the first country in Europe to ban the burqa in 2011, followed by Belgium. The Netherlands approved a partial burqa ban in public spaces such as hospitals and schools in 2016, whereas Austria banned the use of burqa from October last year. In 2017, the German Parliament too voted in favour of a partial burqa ban.