Denmark bans burka and Hijab in public spaces

Denmark bans burka and Hijab in public spaces

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The Danish Parliament today approved a bill that prohibits the use in public places of clothing covering the face, including the burqa and the nicab, and punishes offenses with economic sanctions.

    
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The law, approved this Thursday (31.05.2018) with 75 votes in favor for 30 against, will come into force on August 1. The measure exempts from the prohibition garments that have “a recognized purpose”, such as winter clothing, carnival costumes and masks or protection for certain types of work.

The new regulation establishes fines of 1,000 Danish crowns (134 euros). As of the fourth infraction, it rises to 10,000 (1,343 euros), but does not include prison sentences for repeat offenders, as proposed by the xenophobic Danish People’s Party, an external ally of the liberal-conservative government in the minority. It will be the police and the courts that must determine whether the display of a specific piece of clothing that covers the face violates the law or not.

The regulation has been surrounded by controversy since before it was presented last February. The Liberal Alliance, one of the three parties that make up the Danish Executive, gave for example freedom to its deputies in the vote, while parliamentarians from other formations have protested against the measure.

Possible forced placement

The law also obliges the police to inform the municipal authorities, if there is a suspicion that the burqa or nicab exhibition is forced, to promote measures to support women in order to leave “an oppressive environment”. “It is not compatible with the values of Danish society or with respect for others to hide the face when you are in a public space, we must defend respect for the values that unite us,” he said when the proposal was presented in February. Minister of Justice, the conservative Søren Pape Poulsen.

Poulsen then stressed that the agents will not remove the garments from the people who wear them, but will limit themselves to imposing a fine and inviting them to take it off or go home. Other European countries such as France and Austria have previously approved similar regulations to prohibit the public use of such garments.

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