Denmark passes law banning face veil in public spaces

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Danish Parliament voted Thursday to ban garments covering the face in public places: effectively outlawing the burqa and niqab, coverings worn by some Muslim women.

Denmark's center-right government enacted the law with a vote of 75-30, with 74 absent, The Associated Press reported. Headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull caps are also exempted from the law.

Søren Pape Poulsen, Denmark's justice minister, has said police officers will need to use common sense in enforcing the law, which goes into effect on August 1.

Women in niqab are pictured after the Danish Parliament banned the wearing of face veils in public, at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 31, 2018.

Governments may restrict rights to freedom of expression or religion, such as expressed through clothing, but only when such restrictions are proportionate and on reasonable grounds.

Opponents of the ban have argued it infringes on the rights of women to choose how they dress and present themselves. The law was also backed by the Social Democrats and the far-right Danish People's Party.

The new law, which will block conservative Muslim women from wearing face veils, does not explicitly address Islamic clothing.

A 2010 report estimated up to 200 women in Denmark, a country of 5.7 million, used full-face veils.

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The Danish Parliament passed a bill prohibiting the wearing of the niqab and the burqa.

Those found violating it will receive a 1,000 Krone (£119/$166) fine which could increase to as much as £900/$1,257 for repeat offenders.

However, Human Rights Activists in Denmark have raised their voice against the law saying every woman should be free to dress as they please.

A number of European countries, including France, Belgium, Latvia and Bulgaria have already chose to ban burqas and other veils, fining those guilty of wearing them in public anywhere from $127 to $235. He told Reuters that officers would fine the violators and tell them to "go home." .

France was the first European country to ban the niqab in public places with a law that took effect in 2011.

Full face garments have been banned in Denmark.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a growing movement to ban full-face veils in countries in Europe.

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