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Activists slam Denmark for ban on Islamic full-face veil

Activists slam Denmark for ban on Islamic full-face veil

Denmark has banned the wearing of face veils in public, joining France and other European countries in outlawing the burqa and the niqab worn by some Muslim women to uphold what some politicians say are secular and democratic values.

Danish lawmakers approved the law, which was presented by the country's center-right governing coalition, in a 75-30 vote, according to The Guardian.

However, the law which was presented by the country's centre-right coalition government, said that its objective is not to aim at any particular religion and it does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skullcap, reported The Guardian.

Still, the law has become known as a "burqa ban" directed at Muslim women who wear veils as part of their spiritual practice.

The new law will see women who wear the niqab in public face fines of 1,000 Danish krone ($157) for a first offence up to 10,000 Danish krone ($1,570) for a fourth offence.

Justice Minister Soeren Pape Poulsen said that it will be up to police to use their "common sense" when enforcing the law, which will apply from August 1.

Danish national radio reported that people will still be allowed to cover their face in certain circumstances, such as a costume party or pulling up a scarf during cold weather.

Countries with similar laws include Austria, France, and Belgium.

The justice ministry and the police now will write more detailed guidelines.

"I don't think there are many who wear the burqa here in Denmark".

In 2009, the Danish government reached out to Warburg and her research group at the university's Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies to carry out a study on the number of Muslim women wearing the burqa or other types of face coverings in Denmark.

Van Gulik added that the law fails "abjectly" if its goal is to protect women's rights.

But in April 2011, the government went further by bringing in a total public ban on full-face veils.

Copenhagen has sought to avoid breaching anti-discrimination legislation by also including a prohibition on the wearing of balaclavas and fake beards in public. People can also be required to remove facial coverings in order to match them with their identity papers.

German lawmakers approved a partial ban on "covering the face" past year.

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