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Country’s Burka Ban Goes Into Law – Offenders Could Face Hard Time

By: K. Walker
ClashDaily Associate Editor

Thousands of women are protesting the new law that has gone into effect. Here’s the 411.

Hundreds of protesters, many of whom had children with them, marched in Copenhagen, Denmark to oppose the law which bans face veils.

The protesters see this as an assault on the freedom of Muslim women to practice their religion as they see fit.

‘We need to send a signal to the government that we will not bow to discrimination,’ student Sabina, 21, told Reuters.

She said the law that could see repeat offenders jailed for up to six months ‘specifically targets a religious minority’.

A 30-year-old Muslim woman interviewed in daily Berlingske, identified only as Sarah, said she had ‘lost faith in the system’.

Denmark is the fifth country in Europe to ban full-face coverings.

Danish lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the legislation in May with a vote of 75-30 in an attempt to preserve  ‘secular and democratic values’.

The law would permit police to ask women to remove their face covering if there is no ‘recognizable purpose’ like covering the face in cold weather or safety such as motorcycle helmets. It would also allow police to order women out of public spaces if they wear a face covering.

They could also face fines and possible jail time. The first offense would be approximately $156 USD, and repeat offenders could face a fine of somewhere around $1,560 USD.

First-time offenders risk a fine of 1,000 kroner (£120). Repeat offenses could trigger fines of up to 10,000 kroner (£1,200) or a jail sentence of up to six months.

Anyone forcing a person to wear garments covering the face by using force or threats can be fined or face up to two years in prison. Austria, France and Belgium have similar laws.

Marcus Knuth of the ruling liberal party Venstre, says the dress worn by some conservative Muslim women is ‘strongly oppressive.’

This is one of those issues that civil libertarians are divided on.

Amnesty International is siding with the pro-face veil crowd as a ‘freedom of expression’ issue.

This morning, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director Fotis Filippou said 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,’ Filippou said.

‘Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates women’s rights to freedom of expression and religion.

‘If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing – making a mockery of the freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.’

Source: Daily Mail

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Although I tend to be from the ‘do what you want and leave me alone’ part of the political compass, I do legitimately believe that there is something problematic about full face-coverings. As a woman, I do believe that face coverings diminish women in a society by relegating them to the fringes.

You’d think that all the feminists that march in ‘slut walks’ and rail against the ‘patriarchy’ would be upset about women hiding their faces for cultural or religious reasons.

I often hear the arguments that the coverings are for modesty and it’s to ‘elevate’ the value of women, but I completely disagree. To me, it looks like it’s a wearable prison.

Just because some women want to wear them it doesn’t mean that they’re good.

By the same logic, look at how many women write to serial killers professing their love for them.

Is that good or harmful behavior?

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