Denmark Parliament bans wearing of face veils in public

Denmark’s Parliament on May 31, 2018 banned the wearing of face veils (burqa and niqab) in public places, a move that will criminalise Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa.

The law forbids the wearing of full-face veils such as the niqab, balaclavas, face-covering ski masks, face masks and fake beards. It does not outlaw headscarves, turbans, traditional Jewish Kippa, protective masks, winter clothing such as scarves or costumes and motorcycle helmets.

Fines will range from 1000 Danish crowns (USD 160) for a first offense to 10000 crowns for a fourth violation. Denmark’s Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen said that police will not order offenders to remove their veils, but would fine them and let them go.

Rights groups opine that such bills discriminate against Muslim women who wear face-concealing veils. They strongly believe that such a move violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion. If the intention of this law is to protect women’s rights, it fails completely as it criminalises women for their choice of clothing. Amnesty International’s Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said that “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs.”

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