COPENHAGEN — An Iranian-born Danish Muslim designer made more than a fashion statement in Denmark by showcasing models wearing niqab and others dressed as police officers, days after a law banned the full-face covering in the North European country.
“I have a duty to support all women’s freedom of speech and freedom of thought,” Reza Etamadi expressed about his MUF10 streetwear brand in Copenhagen Fashion Week semiannual show which was held last Wednesday, CBS6Albany reported on August 13.
Denmark introduced a law on August 1 where people wearing a burqa, which covers a person’s entire face, or a niqab, which only shows the eyes, while in public carries a fine of 1,000 kroner.
Repeated offenders could be fined as much as 10,000 kroner (£1,193).
The Danish government assures that the law isn’t aimed at any religion and doesn’t ban Islamic headscarves like the mainstream Muslim hijab, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.
Human rights campaigners have slammed the ban as a violation of women’s rights, while supporters argue it enables better integration of Muslim immigrants into Danish society.
According to the Danish law, people are free to cover their face when there is a “recognizable purpose” like cold weather or complying with other legal requirements, such as using motorcycle helmets.
Anyone forcing a person to wear garments covering the face by using force or threats can be fined or face up to two years in prison.
However, for Etamadi, “by enforcing the ban, authorities are violating women’s rights and the free choice we in the Western world are known for and proud to have.”
“I have no unanimous attitude toward the ban in general but I have a principle: No man should decide what women should wear,” the Muslim designer said.
Islam is Denmark’s largest minority religion. According to 2018 estimates, more than 300,000 people or 5.3% of the population is Muslim.
In the 1970s, Muslims arrived from Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco and Balkans Muslim countries to work. In the 1980s and 90s, the majority of Muslim arrivals were refugees and asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia.