COPENHAGEN – Hundreds of Danish Muslims and non-Muslims are planning a protest on Wednesday, August 1, against a nationwide ban on niqab (the face veil Muslims women wear), set to come into action this week.
She will take to the streets for a rally with group Kvinder I Dialog (Women In Dialogue), who argue for the right to express religious or cultural identity.
In May, Denmark became the fifth European nation to outlaw full-face veils.
Lawmakers voted 75-30 in favor of the legislation in a bid to uphold ‘secular and democratic values’.
Under the law, police will be able to instruct women to remove their veils or order them to leave public areas.
It also proposes a fine up to 10,000 Danish crowns (£1,200) for those who breach the ban.
“Everybody wants to define what Danish values are,” Meryem, 20, also providing just her first name for fear of harassment, said.
“I believe that you have to integrate yourself in society, that you should get an education and so forth,”
“Wearing a niqab does not mean you can’t engage yourself in Danish values.”
Danish Muslims warned that the new law would only increase anti-Muslim sentiments in the country.
A 37-year-old woman, known only as Ayah, said while the law would only “legitimize acts of hatred”, curious locals “have become more aware of what is going on.”
“I get more smiles on the street and people are asking me more questions.”
A Copenhagen jewelry maker supporting the Aug 1 rally by Kvinder I Dialog added, “I’m not for or against the niqab. I’m for the right of the people to wear whatever they want whether they be a Muslim or a punk.
“I see this as the government reaching into places they don’t belong and as a cheap hit on an already stigmatized group to score cheap political points.”