World

In a First, niqab-wearing Denmark woman fined

The 28-yr-old woman violated the new controversial law banning full-face Islamic veils in public places

Stockholm: A 28-year-old woman wearing a niqab (full-face veil) has become the first person in Denmark to be fined for violating a new controversial law banning full-face Islamic veils in public places, reports said on Saturday.

During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again. The woman was informed she would receive a fine of $156 in the post, and was told to either remove her veil or leave the public space. She chose the latter.  David Borchersen, Police 

Police were called to a shopping centre in Horsholm, in the northeastern region of Nordsjaelland, where the woman had become involved in a scuffle with another woman who had tried to tear her niqab off, police duty officer David Borchersen was quoted as saying on Saturday.

According to reports, police took a photograph of the woman wearing the niqab, and obtained security camera footage from the shopping centre of the incident.

New ‘no-burqa in public’ law

  • As of August 1 this year, wearing a burqa, which covers a person’s entire face, or the niqab, which only shows the eyes, in public carries a fine of $156. Repeated violations are fined up to $1,552.
  • The ban also targets other accessories that hide the face such as balaclavas, masks and false beards among others.
  • Human rights campaigners have slammed the ban as a violation of women’s rights, while supporters argue it enables better integration of Muslim immigrants into Danish society.

Full-face veil is a hot-button issue across Europe

  • The full-face veil is a hot-button issue across Europe. Belgium, France, Germany and Austria have already imposed bans or partial bans.
  • The European Court of Human Rights last year upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the face veil in public.
  • France was the first European country to ban the veil in public places with a law that took effect in 2011.
  • Lena Larsen, project director of the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the University of Oslo, said illegalising clothing is ‘polarising’ and ‘not productive’.
  • Larsen said, ‘I don’t think that this law will obtain any productive aim of integration or peaceful coexistence. What we are witnessing is an expression of Danish identity politics, legalising an ethical concern and we are seeing polarisation.
  • ‘Women who are considered to be oppressed and in need to be saved from unwanted social control – they are actually strong voices for wearing the face veil with arguments of personal freedom to choose whatever they want to wear,’ Larsen added.
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