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Denmark passes law banning Muslim face veil in public spaces

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The “burqa ban” was passed by a 75-30 vote

Denmark became the latest European country to outlaw the full Islamic veil on Thursday. By a 75-30 vote, the Danish parliament passed a law popularly known as the “burqa ban” which would outlaw the wearing of garments that cover the face in public spaces.

Violators would be subject to a fine of 1,000 kroner ($122), and repeat offenders could be fined up to 10,000 kroner ($1,222) or jailed for up to six months, according to a report in The Guardian.

Denmark joins Austria, France and Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Bavaria, which have similar laws banning face-covering veils.

The legislation was supported by a broad coalition, including members of the liberal Social Democrats and the right-leaning Danish People’s Party.

In response to charges that a “burqa ban” would violate religious liberties, proponents of the legislation have cited the security concerns raised by face-covering clothing.

“This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking,” Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, spokesman for the Liberal Party said, according to a report in the Independent. The Liberal party leads the center-right governing coalition in Denmark’s parliament.

Wearing masks at public assemblies is illegal in Denmark, punishable by a fine or up to six months imprisonment.

Last fall, Denmark’s largest party, the opposition Social Democrats, indicated that they would support a ban on face covering veils because they view them as oppressing women, according to a report in the Independent.

“We are ready to ban the burqa if that is what it takes … But there are some dilemmas, not least with regards to how such a ban would be enforced,” said the Social Democrats’ leader Mette Fredriksen.

 

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