First fine handed down for violation of Denmark’s new ‘Burqa Ban’

First fine handed down for violation of Denmark’s new ‘Burqa Ban’
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A 28-year-old woman has received the first criminal punishment under Denmark's new ban on burqas and other garments worn in public that cover the face.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that a woman wearing a niqab, a type of full-face veil worn by a minority of Muslim women in Denmark, was confronted by police at a shopping center in Horsholm, near Cophenhagen, and fined the equivalent of $156 for the infraction.

The woman was also asked to either remove the veil or leave, opting for the latter, according to the AP.

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Denmark's ban on niqabs and other full-face coverings in public spaces went into effect on Aug. 1, drawing condemnation from many who say the law is a form of religious discrimination. The country grants exemptions from the law in cold weather or for other “recognizable purpose[s]”

The "Burqa Ban," which was passed in late May, was immediately criticized by international human rights organizations that called it a blatant attack on Islamic citizens of Denmark.

"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, upon the ban's passage.

Hundreds of women wearing burqas and other face veils marched in protest in Denmark this week over the ban, calling it religious discrimination.

“We need to send a signal to the government that we will not bow to discrimination and a law that specifically targets a religious minority,” one participant wearing a niqab told Reuters.

Full-face veils are rare in Denmark, according to the news service, but similar laws exist in other European countries, such as France, Belgium and the German state of Bavaria.