Denmark is to become the next European country to restrict the burqa and the niqab, worn by some Muslim women.
The news comes after most parties in the Danish parliament backed some sort of ban on facial coverings.
Full and partial face veils such as burqas and niqabs divide opinion across Europe. They set advocates of religious freedom against secularists. In addition, there are those who argue that such garments are culturally alien or symbols of the oppression of women.
The niqab covers everything but the eyes, while the burqa also covers the eyes with a transparent veil.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed some restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils in public places.
“This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking,” the Liberal Party’s Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, said.
This would effectively mean a ban on the niqab and the burqa, he added. Around 200 women in Denmark wear such garments, according to researchers.
The three-party centre-right minority government, its ally the Danish People’s Party and the main opposition Social Democrats have all said they are in favour of a ban. However, they are still discussing how the ban should be designed and enforced.
Photo Credit: Steve Evans