Unveiled

Protesters resist discrimination as Denmark’s ‘burqa ban’ takes effect

As Denmark’s burqa ban officially comes into effect, the country has found itself embroiled in an increasingly virulent debate as activists protest the law for discriminating against Muslims and for dictating what women can and can’t wear — even as those in favor of the bill claim that the law will save women from being forced to wear “strongly oppressive” garments.

While Danish politicians have denied that a law forbidding people from covering the face was deliberately targeted at the few Muslim women in the country that wear the niqab and burqa, the measure has nonetheless become popularly known as a “burqa ban.” Under the law, which was approved in May, first-time offenders can be fined approximately $120, with repeat offenders being subjected to fines of up to $1,200 or even a prison sentence of up to six months. Those accused of forcing someone to wear a face covering can also be charged and punished with fines or up to two years in prison.

Not everyone is willing to blindly accept the burqa ban lying down. Sasha Andersen of the Party Rebels activist group led a protest of the new law on Wednesday, denouncing the measure as “discriminatory” and pointing to other laws passed in recent years that target Muslim asylum-seekers who have immigrated into the country. Denmark’s center-right party has moved to tighten asylum and immigration rules, in addition to passing a 2016 law that requires asylum-seekers to hand over their valuables such as gold and jewelry as recompense for being allowed to stay in the country.

A number of other countries, including Austria, Switzerland, France and Belgium have all also passed similar laws to ban the use of head coverings.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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