Denmark: Just 39 fines issued In first year of burka ban

Numerous street protests followed introduction of new law, which came into effect on 01 August 2018.

A year after Denmark passed a law outlawing the wearing of the full-face Islamic veil, a total of 39 people have been fined for covering their faces in various ways.

Of the 39 fines, 22 were directly related to those wearing either the Islamic niqab or the burqa, with the rest coming under the scope of the law for wearing other forms of facial concealment.

The law has not been without controversy as protests emerged last year against it, with over 2,000 leftists and Muslims taking to the streets in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.

'I’ve realised that democracy doesn’t work. Politicians boast of freedoms and rights when they are making fun of Muslims and when they are drawing caricatures of the prophet. But when it comes to me, they take away my right to choose how I want to dress', one niqab-clad woman told Danish media.

The first fine under the law occurred only days after it was implemented, with a woman in Horsholm being fined 1,000 Danish kroner ($156/£128) after police were called to a shopping centre and confronted the woman, forcing her to leave or remove her veil.

Earlier this week, the Netherlands became the latest European country to ban the wearing of the Islamic veil in public places, joining Denmark, France, Austria and several other states.

The Dutch brought their burqa ban into force this week with violators of the law facing  €150 (£137/$167) fines. Discussions on banning the Islamic full-face garment began 14 years ago when firebrand populist politician Geert Wilders suggested it in 2005.

The Dutch ban is not an all-encompassing ban on the garment, however, with the ban being limited to 'educational facilities, public institutions and buildings, as well as hospitals and public transport,' according to the Dutch Interior Ministry.

In Austria, which banned the burqa in 2017 under a conservative-populist coalition government, it took only six months for the government to record 50 fines for violations of the ban.

Author's comment: I can't wait for the ban to be introduced here in the UK. A diligent team of police officers could snag over 50 burqa-clad women in the first hour of an operation targeting the car park of my local supermarket in Birmingham.

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