As refugees continue to stream into Europe from the war torn countries of the Middle East, European countries are still struggling to assimilate these immigrants into their way of life. And as a way to do that, Denmark plans to restrict the use of the burqa and the niqab, which are headdresses worn by some Muslim women. And they are just the next European country to do so. Both political parties in the Danish parliament agree that the a ban on facial coverings is a good idea because they prevent people from seeing who the person is or what they are up to. These full and facial covers like burkas and hijabs have become under scrutiny across Europe. Some people believe that because they are worn for religious reasons, the government should not try to interfere. Others believe that preventing people from wearing them will increase safety in their countries and communities.
While people are divided on this issue – some see it as a religious right while others see it as a socially oppressive symbol for women. The niqab covers everything except the woman’s eyes. That means no one can see her mouth or hair or nose. The burqa also covers the eyes but has a transparent veil so the woman can manage to get around without bumping into objects or walking out into traffic. Both headwear limit visibly for Muslim women which increases their risk of getting injured while walking around cities especially around traffic.
In Europe, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Bavaria, a German state, all imposed restrictions on headwear that covers the entire face in public places.
“This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking,” Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, spokesman for the Liberal Party. Instead it is a way for the government to protect people and prevent those who are trying to do harm from concealing their identity.
If Denmark joins the increasing list of European countries, they would ban the niqab and the burqa. Only about 200 women in Denmark wear these kinds of garments. This is a tiny minority for a country of millions. But the change would be a bid deal for those few women. All major political parties are in favor of the ban across Denmark.
“There will come a masking ban in Denmark. That’s how it is,” Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said on Facebook. “So if it is practically possible to have such a ban without betraying ourselves or our own values, then the Liberal Alliance will vote for it.”
The Social Democrats are also in favor of the ban of the Islamic headdress because it oppresses women.
“We are ready to ban the burqa if that is what it takes … But there are some dilemmas, not least with regards to how such a ban would be enforced,” said the Social Democrats’ leader Mette Fredriksen during a debate in parliament on Thursday.
Do you think Denmark is making the right choice by banning the burqa and niqab? Or should they allow women to wear them?