Starting Wednesday August, 1 2018, Denmark has outlawed the wearing of full face veils. The bill, originally passed by Danish parliament in May, is being viewed as directed towards the Islamic tradition of women wearing the burqa or niqab. Denmark is not the first European nation to enact such measures– Belgium, France, Austria, and certain areas in Switzerland also have bans against face veils being worn in public.
Even Quebec, Canada passed legislation that would require any public worker or citizen seeking government services to have their face uncovered.
Protests outside of Denmark’s parliament called for the bill to be repealed. The bill itself makes no mention of the burqa or niqab specifically, outlawing all facial coverings in public. Opponents argue that the vague wording is being used to deny specifically anti-Muslim policies.
As the law is written, false beards, mustaches, scarfs, or masks would be outlawed as well. Technically, any woman choosing to wear a veil during an outdoors wedding would be in violation of the law as well. Fines for violating the law start at 1000 Danish krone ($160) and could be as much as 10,000 krone ($1600).
The burqa covers the entire face with a fine mesh over the eyes allowing sight, whereas the niqab covers the full face except for a narrow slit across the eyes. Many Muslim women around the world choose to wear this traditional garb as a symbol of their faith. Among many Western societies, these headdresses have come to symbolize the oppression of women in Islamic cultures. However, many Muslim women see this as a spiritual choice, no different from the kippah in Judaism or a crucifix in Catholicism.
These recent laws are being seen by opponents as clear violations of individual’s freedom of religion, and rising ‘Islamophobia’ in Western society. Many European countries, along with Canada and the United States, have also made drastic restrictions to immigration policies to bar refugees from terrorist-run countries, such as Syria.
In 2016, Denmark enacted some of the harshest policies regarding refugees. Specifically, authorities were obligated to confiscate any items valued over $1450 from individuals seeking asylum, ostensibly to help pay for feeding and housing refugees. Additionally, a Danish law requires children in any of the 25 designated low-income “ghettos” to spend 25 hours a week away from their parents to be taught “Danish values.”
These values include Danish language instruction, as well as instruction on Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter. These low-income neighborhoods have a very high immigrant population, with most coming from an Islamic background.
Denmark is rapidly becoming one of the worst places for practicing Muslims in all of Europe, and this weeks ban on face coverings are just the latest in a series of laws seen by many as fear mongering, reminiscent of many laws targeting Jewish people in the early Twentieth century around Europe. When one segment of the population is targeted, they become a scapegoat for all the ills befalling the society, and down that path some of the worst horrors in human history have been committed.
Ian Andersen is a Lead Contributor to theDailyLead.