A woman in Denmark has become the first person to be fined for wearing a niqab under new laws banning full-face veils.
A niqab is a veil worn by some Muslim women in public, which covers all of their face apart from their eyes.
According to local media, the 28-year-old female was fined after getting into a fight with another woman, who had tried to tear off her veil.
Police were called to the scene and reviewed CCTV footage of the incident, which took place in a shopping centre in Horsholm, around 15 miles north of the capital Copenhagen yesterday (Friday, August 3), reports the BBC.
The woman wearing the niqab was told she would be fined 1,000 kroner (the equivalent of £119.37) in the post, and was told to either remove her veil or leave the public area.
However, the woman in question decided to keep on her headwear, disobeying the law.
Police officer David Borchersen said:
During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again.
On August 1, Denmark introduced a law where people wearing a burqa, which covers a person’s entire face, or a niqab, which only shows the eyes, while in public, will be fined up to 1,000 kroner.
Yet for repeated offenders, the fine amount could rise much higher, with 10,000 kroner (the equivalent of £1,193) being a very likely figure.
Included in the ban on the burqa and niqab, are balaclavas, masks, false beards and a host of other accessories.
The law in question is said to not mention burkas by name, but reads:
Anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine.
It’s been argued by human rights campaigners, the ban is a clear violation of women’s rights, calling it the ‘latest in a harmful trend’, while supporters of the ban argue it encourages a better integration for Muslim immigrants into Danish society.
Back in June, it was announced Dutch parliament approved a limited ban on people wearing ‘face-covering clothing’ within public places.
As well as clothing – including items such as motor helmets and ski-masks – this partial ban will include the burqa and niqab – although it will not affect the hijab – a piece of clothing which cover’s a woman’s hair rather than her face.
This ban will apply to those using public transport, as well as those in education establishments and public institutions, i.e. hospitals and government buildings.
Despite the ban not relating to public streets, if police officers wish to, they can ask individuals to remove face-covering clothing for identification purposes.
The vote was cast in the Netherlands’ parliament’s upper chamber, with Dutch MPs backing the bill by 44 to 31 votes.
According to The Guardian, the upper house of parliament stated:
The Senate has agreed with the bill. The bill proposes a legal ban on wearing clothing that completely covers the face, or only shows the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in government institutions and hospitals.
Breaking this law could carry a fine of around 400 euros – the equivalent of £350.
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