Along with other European countries, Denmark is enforcing a new law which bans women from wearing face veils in public places. A 28-year-old woman was the first person to be fined for breaking this new law in a shopping center in Horsholm, a small city in the north-eastern region of Nordsjaelland close to Copenhagen.
The police were called to confront a woman wearing a niqab garment. Apparently she was involved in a scuffle with another woman who tried to tear her niqab off. “During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again,” police duty officer David Borchersen said. Police took a photograph of the woman wearing the niqab, and obtained security camera footage from the shopping center of the incident. The woman was fined and also asked to either remove the niqab garment or to leave the premises. The fine amount was one thousand Danish kroner, which equals $156, and the woman chose to leave the shopping center.
The new law banning face veils in public places came into force as of 1 August, and wearing a burqa — which covers a person’s entire face, or the niqab, which only shows the eyes — in public carries a fine of one thousand Danish kroner. If the person repeatedly violates this law he/she could be fined up to ten thousand Danish kroner. This law targets not only the burqa, niqab and other accessories connected with religion; but it also banns other objects that hide the face such as balaclavas, masks and false beards.
One of main reasons behind this law, according to its supporters, is that it enables better integration of Muslim immigrants, while its opponents think that it violates human rights. Denmark is not the first country to have such a law. Belgium, France, Germany and Austria have also imposed bans or partial bans on full-face veils.
It is important to notice that the law allows people to cover their face when there is a “recognizable purpose” like cold weather or complying with other legal requirements; such as using motorcycle helmets. On the other hand, the punishment is more severe for those who force others to cover their face. Any person who uses force or threats to coerce another to wear garments covering the face can be fined or face up to two years in prison.
Photo Credits: Times of India