Denmark passes law to ban use of burqa, niqab from August 1

Danish MPs greenlight ban on wearing burqa & niqab in public

Danish MPs greenlight ban on wearing burqa & niqab in public

People violating the law a few times would risk a fine of up to 10,000 kroner, which would amount to U.S. dollar 1600 or imprisonment up to six months.

"No, I don't want to take it off", said Pakistani national Ayesha Haleem, who wears a niqab.

By contrast, the number of regular niqab wearers has been previously estimated at between 150 and 200, up to 80 of whom are estimated to be ethnic Danish women who converted to Islam.

However, the law is popularly known as the "Burqa Ban" and is mostly seen as being directed at the dress worn by some conservative Muslim women.

Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen said police would not order offenders to remove their veils, but would fine them and tell them to go home.

"If the intention of this law was to protect women's rights it fails abjectly", Amnesty International's Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said. Instead, the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold'.

Proponents maintained that this ban would help ensure better integration of asylum-seekers and migrants into Danish society.

Zainab Ibn Hssain, who lives in Copenhagen and has been wearing the niqab for the a year ago, told Reuters: "It's not nice. That's completely wrong", she told Danish public broadcaster DR.

When France adopted a ban on face covering in 2010, targeted at women wearing a chador or a burka, it was challenged and taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The Telegraph reports that France was the first European country to ban the burqa in public.

According to that legislation, civil servants and officials including judges and soldiers must have their faces uncovered.

Full or partial bans have since been passed in Austria, Bulgaria and the southern German state of Bavaria, with the Dutch parliament agreeing a ban in late 2016, pending approval from the country's higher chamber.

Ibn Hssain rejected suggestions that wearing the veil symbolized the rejection of Danish values or oppression of women.

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