Founder of the Danish People’s Party Merete Kjærsgaard may push for niqab ban in Denmark
Jennifer G Andrade
A burqa or niqab ban may find its way from France to Denmark following an important judicial decision at the European Court of Human Rights on July 1.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of France’s prohibition of face veils. Now, several legal experts have told the Danish daily Berlingsker that a similar ban could be enacted not only in Denmark but also in Norway and Austria.
Sten Schaumburg-Müller, Law Professor at Aarhus University agreed that the French example can be adopted by Denmark. “It’s obvious that a ban specifically targeting burqas would be hopeless but a ban similar to France’s prohibiting the covering of the face in public could be established here.”
Head of think-tank Justitia, Jacob Mchangama, also believes the French law could be recycled on Danish ground.
“The defining element in the French legislation is that it is targeted at specific religions, but instead the motivation is to ensure social cohesion and interaction between citizens,” he said.
The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP) said they want to see a similar ban in place.
DPP,Founder, Pia Merete Kjærsgaard, said a face-covering ban should be introduced.
“I think it’s obvious. It simply doesn’t work that women go around completely covered and that people cannot see their facial expressions or see who is standing in front of them,” said Kjærsgaard.
“[A ban] would send the signal that we do not accept parallel societies and isolation. We see [the burqa] as a rejection of Danish society. It is a sign that one wishes to distance themselves from the rest of society,” said DPP MP Martin Henriksen.
If Kjærsgaard takes the proposed ban to parliament, it will be the third time the DF has proposed a burqa ban, as two similar laws were considered in 2004 and 2009, none of these were passed.
However, although the DPP and the Social Democrats have welcomed the idea of the ban the Liberal Party, which is the senior partner in Denmark’s coalition Government, rejects the idea of legislating about citizens clothing, provided they are not employed in a public function.
Liberal Party, MP, Peter Christensen, said, “It’s going too far if we start legislating on what sort of clothes people can and cannot wear. The burqa and covered faces should not be allowed if you work with people in the public sector, but that is where we draw the line.”
Besides France only two other European countries – Belgium and the Netherlands – have passed bans targeting Muslim face veils.