DANISH MPs provisionally backed a “burka ban” yesterday following similar legislation from other European governments.
A large majority of MPs, including the opposition Social Democrats — Denmark’s largest party — said they would vote for a ban on garments that cover the face, although a date for a vote has not been announced.
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, an MP for the liberal Left Party that leads Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s coalition government, claimed the proposed legislation was not targeted at any religion and was not a ban on headscarves, turbans or the Jewish kippa skull cap.
“This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking,” he insisted.
“We are ready to ban the burka if that is what it takes … But there are some dilemmas, not least with regards to how such a ban would be enforced,” Social Democrats leader Mette Fredriksen said during parliamentary debate on Thursday.
France, Belgium and most recently Austria have passed similar laws.
Austria’s new law came into force on Sunday. In addition to the veil, it bans wearing ski masks off-piste, surgical masks outside of hospitals and clown make-up outside of the circus.
The Telegraph reported police were seen ordering one woman in Zell am See, south of Salzburg, to remove her veil.
Breaking the law carries a fine of €150 (£135).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed similar legislation, saying: “Our law takes precedence over codes of honour, tribal or family rules, and over sharia law.”
Britain’s Ukip was accused of Islamophobia ahead of this year’s general election when it proposed a similar ban as part of its manifesto — as it did in 2010. It gained 1.8 per cent of the vote.