COPENHAGEN, Denmark (ChurchMilitant.com) - Denmark is the latest European country to ban the wearing of full-face veils in public.
On Thursday, the Danish parliament passed a law outlawing the wearing of garments that cover the face, including Islamic veils like the niqab or burqa.
In a 75–30 vote, lawmakers with majority support from the Social Democrats and the conservative Danish People's Party (DPP) approved the measure, popularly referred to as the "Burqa Ban." It's set to become effective Aug. 1.
But critics of the law include Amnesty International's Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik, who decried the law as violating women's "rights of freedom and expression," saying:
All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa. If the intention of this law was to protect women's rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.
Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, insisted the law affects primarily Muslims, arguing, "It will have the [e]ffect of further polarizing society and further alienating the Muslim minority population."
Thursday's decision was celebrated by Danish politicians and members of European Parliament, including Anders Vistisen who tweeted his support, saying, "Today, the Danish Parliament approved a law banning burqa and niqab. Congratulations #Denmark!"
And DPP tweeted its support for the ruling with an image of a veiled woman with a "no symbol" across her face with the following words: "now it's over with burqas in Denmark."
Other countries have passed similar laws, including France, Belgium, Austria and Germany, alongside the European Court of Human Rights.
Most bans against wearing garments in public are against full-face coverings and some have also banned Muslim headscarves. But the Danish rule does not outlaw turbans or the Jewish skull cap.