A woman has been slapped with a fine of more than SAR/AED 500 for wearing a niqab, as Denmark cracks down on full-face veils following the introduction of a new law. The European nation last week implemented a nationwide ban which outlaws the wearing of facial coverings, such as motorbike helmets and balaclavas, in public.
Police were called after the 28-year-old Muslim woman was involved in an altercation with another woman at a shopping center in Horsholm, north of Copenhagen, AFP reports. The Muslim woman was told she would receive a fine of 1,000 kroner (AED/AED 570), the agency adds, and was given the choice of removing her veil or exiting the public space. “She chose the latter,” police duty officer David Borchersen said. “During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again.”
Under the new Danish law, those found wearing facial coverings in public will be fined 1,000 kroner, while repeat offenders can be fined up to 10,000 kroner (SAR/AED 5,700). The regulations, which do not explicitly state the Islamic veil is outlawed, came into effect last week, and sparked protests across the nation. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Copenhagen and Aarhus wearing the full-face veil, and were exempt from fines as the new law allows people to “express themselves freely” in peaceful protests.
“Anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine”, the law states, however campaigners have argued the law deliberately targets Muslim women. Human Rights Watch called the regulations ”discriminatory”, adding it was the “latest in a harmful trend” that follows the suit of similar laws in the Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium. France became the first European nation to outlaw the niqab and burqa back in 2011.