Denmark passes burqa ban

Denmark passes burqa ban
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Denmark on Thursday became the latest European nation to ban garments that cover the face, such as Islamic veils including burqas or niqabs. 

Danish lawmakers approved the law, which was presented by the country's center-right governing coalition, in a 75-30 vote, according to The Guardian. The government says the law is not aimed at religious groups, but human rights advocates have criticized the rule as unnecessary.

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The Guardian reports that the "burqa ban," as it's known, is mostly seen as a law directed at Muslim women. 

“All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa," said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe director. 

Van Gulik added that the law fails "abjectly" if its goal is to protect women's rights. 

"The law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold," she said. 

Debate surrounding the burqa has persisted for years around Europe.

In December 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "the full-face veil is not acceptable in our country," and called for it to be banned. France and Belgium have enforced bans on burqas and other garments that cover the face. Local governments in Italy, Spain and Switzerland have also imposed bans, many of which have been challenged in court.