It’s been a year since Denmark’s contentious so-called ‘Burka Ban’ came into force on 1 August 2018. Since then, 22 women have been fined for violating the law, according to figures from the Rigspolitiet national police force reported by Kristeligt Dagblad.
Prohibition on face-masking clothing
The one-year-old law states that wearing garments that cover the face – burkas and niqabs, and even ski masks and fake beards – are now banned in public.
Out of the 39 fines issued so far, 22 have been for covering the face with a niqab or burka.
A fine of 1,000 kroner is applicable upon any violations of the ban, followed by 2,000 kroner – and then 10,000 kroner if repeated.
The controversial ban
The law created a stir in the public sphere, and hundreds of people in Copenhagen and Aarhus took to the streets shortly after its introduction.
Supporters claimed that implementing such a law was a victory for women’s rights in general and that wearing these garments is incompatible with the values of Denmark.
The critics on the other hand said that the law infringed religious freedom – a principle etched in the Danish constitution – and also violated Muslim women’s rights.
Did it work?
“You can’t say based on just 23 fines whether the ban worked as it was intended,” said Margit Warburg, a religious sociologist and professor of regional studies at the University of Copenhagen.
“Maybe the women don’t go out very much? Maybe no-one calls the police? Or it could be because people actually have removed their niqab. In reality, we don’t know.”
Warburg added that the use of the niqab and burka is limited to only around 200 women in Denmark.
Earlier last week, the Netherlands passed a new law banning Islamic veils in public places.