Denmark Veil Ban: First Woman Charged for Wearing Niqab

Denmark Veil Ban: First Woman Charged for Wearing Niqab

A woman has become the first person in Denmark to be charged with wearing a face veil in public, after a ban came into effect on Wednesday.

Local media report a 28-year-old woman was fined after getting into a scuffle with a woman trying to remove her veil.

Police say they were called and when they reviewed CCTV, informed the woman she would be charged if she refused to take her niqab off.

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The new law has provoked protests and criticism from human rights groups.

It was officially introduced on Wednesday after it passed in Denmark’s parliament earlier this year.

It does not mention burkas and niqabs by name, but says “anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine”.

On Wednesday night protesters gathered in the capital to demonstrate against law, with women in traditional burqas and veils standing alongside people with makeshift coverings.

Friday’s incident is reported to have taken place at a shopping centre in Horsholm, 25km (15 miles) north of Copenhagen.

Police told local media that they were called to the shopping centre after a fight had broken out.

They said both women were charged with violating the peace and said one had also been charged with violating the full-face veil law.

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She was given a 1,000 kroner fine ($155; £120) after refusing to take it off at their request.

Some Muslim women have said they will not adhere to the law – which carries a 10,000 ($1,500; £1,200) kroner penalty for repeat offenders.

Human Rights Watch has labelled the ban “discriminatory” and said it was the “latest in a harmful trend.”

Last year the European Court of Human Rights upheld a similar Belgian ban, saying that communal harmony trumped an individual’s right to religious expression.

In France, Austria, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria, full or partial bans are also in place

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