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Denmark poised to ban Islamic full-face veils

'It is incompatible with the values of the Danish society', says country's justice minister

Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 06 February 2018 20:52 GMT
The niqab, which leaves a gap for the eyes, will be banned along with the burqa, in which wearers see through a mesh screen
The niqab, which leaves a gap for the eyes, will be banned along with the burqa, in which wearers see through a mesh screen (Getty)

The Danish government is poised to become the next European country to introduce a ban on Islamic full-face coverings in public places.

The government said it planned to fine people who wore items including the burqa and the niqab which are worn by some Muslim women.

Under the proposals anyone found covering their face would be fined 1,000 kroner (£120), or up to 10,000 kroner (£1,200) if they are repeatedly caught.

“It is incompatible with the values of the Danish society or the respect for the community to keep the face hidden when meeting each other in the public space,” Justice Minister Justice Soren Pape Poulsen said.

“With a ban, we draw a line in the sand and establish that here in Denmark we show each other trust and respect by meeting each other face to face,” he said.

The restrictions have been supported by the Danish People’s Party – which the minority ruling coalition government depends on to push through legislation.

Angela Merkel calls for burqa ban 'wherever legally possible' in Germany

All three parties in the coalition had said last October they would support such a ban.

It has been previously estimated the introduction of the law in Denmark will affect fewer than 200 women.

Fancy dress for Halloween or for sports mascots will still be allowed.

France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all implemented restrictions on Islamic full-face veils in public.

Following legal challenges to Belgium’s 2011 national ban, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the country’s right to implement the ban in full. Judges said it did not violate the rights to private and family life, or freedom of religion or discrimination laws.

In June 2017 Norway’s government proposed a ban on face-covering Muslim veils in kindergartens, schools and universities.

Various head coverings are worn by Muslim women, but the bans will only include those that cover the face.

The niqab, which covers the face but leaves the eyes clear, will therefore be banned, along with the burqa, which is the most concealing of all Islamic veils, leaving just a mesh screen to see through.

The headscarf known as the hijab will remain legal, as will the al-amira, shayla and other less-concealing headgear.

Reuters contributed to this report

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