Denmark becomes latest European country to pass 'burqa ban'

Denmark becomes latest European country to pass 'burqa ban'
Denmark's parliament passed a law on Thursday banning face coverings in public places, including the Islamic niqab and burqa.
2 min read
31 May, 2018
Denmark's parliament has passed a law banning the face veil [AFP]

Denmark has joined a number of other countries in banning the niqab and burqa - garments worn by some Muslims that cover the face.

Parliament voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill presented by the centre-right governing coalition, which was originally proposed in February. 

The law bans all face coverings, but has been widely viewed as targeting Muslim women who choose to cover their faces in public for reasons of faith.

Justice Minister Pape Poulsen, head of Denmark's Conservative People's Party, also appeared to indicate that the bill targeted covered women.

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"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," he said.

The new law will see women who wear the niqab in public face fines of 1,000 Danish krone ($157) for a first offence up to 10,000 Danish krone ($1,570) for a fourth offence.

Women will also be told by police to return home and change their attire before going out in public again.

Human rights group Amnesty International have already criticised the new law as "a discriminatory violation of women’s rights".

"All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs," the human rights group said.

France, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed bans or restrictions on the Islamic face veil.

The law will come into force 1 August.