COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark has banned the wearing of facial veils in public and joined France and other parts of Europe to ban the burqa and niqab worn by some Muslim women.
The Parliament voted on Thursday for the law proposed by the center-right government, which said that facial veils contradicted Danish values. Opponents say the ban, which comes into force on August 1, violates the right of women to dress as they wish.
Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen said the police would not order the perpetrators to remove their veils, but punish them and tell them to go home.
The fines range from 1,000 Danish kroner ($ 160) for a first offense up to 10,000 kroner for the fourth offense.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed restrictions on full-face veils in public places.
Justice Minister Pape Poulsen, leader of the conservative party in a government supported by the nationalist Danish People's Party, said in submitting the bill in February, "It's inconsistent with the values of Danish society or respect for the community's face to hide when they meet in public spaces. "
Zainab Ibn Hssain, who lives in Copenhagen and has been wearing the niqab for a year, told Reuters," It's not nice, which means I will not be able to I'll go to school, go to work, or go out with my family.
"But I will not take my niqab, so I have to find another solution," added the 20-year-old.
The Human Rights Group Amnesty International called the ban "a discriminatory violation of women's rights."
"All women should be free to dress as they wish and wear clothes, which expresses their identity or their beliefs, "it said.
Reporting by Teis Jensen and Emil Gjerding Nielson, edited by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Robin Pomeroy