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Denmark Approves Burka Ban

Denmark Approves Burka Ban

Date Published: 
Friday, 1 June, 2018
Summary: 
  • Denmark becomes the sixth European country to enact such a ban, after France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Austria.

  • "The face is your passport. When you refuse me to see you, I am a victim." — Jacques Myard, a former conservative MP who supported the ban in France.

  • "[S]ome people do not want to be a part of Danish society and want to create parallel societies with their own norms and rules." — Danish Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen.

The Danish Parliament has passed a ban on Islamic full-face veils in public spaces. The new law, sponsored by Denmark's center-right government, and backed by the Social Democrats and the Danish People's Party, was passed on May 31 by 75 votes to 30.

As of August 1, anyone found wearing a burka (which covers the entire face) or a niqab (which covers the entire face except for the eyes) in public in Denmark will be subject to a fine of 1,000 Danish kroner (€135; $157); repeat offenders could be fined 10,000 Danish kroner.

In addition, anyone found to be requiring a person through force or threats to wear garments that cover the face could be fined or face up to two years in prison.

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Amnesty International  the new law was a "discriminatory violation of women's rights. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), however, twice has ruled that burka bans are legal.

In July 2017, for example, the ECHR  a Belgian ban on wearing the burka in public spaces. It said that the government had been responding "to a practice that it considered to be incompatible, in Belgian society, with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society...essential to ensure the functioning of a democratic society."