The junior minority coalition Conservative Party wants to introduce a ban on Muslim burka or niqab dress codes which require women to completely cover their faces in the public space, according to Jyllands-Posten.
“We don’t want to see burkas in Denmark. We simply can’t accept that some of our citizens walk around with their faces covered,” says MP Naser Khader, a Syrian-Palestinian of extraction and the Conservative Party’s recently-appointed integration spokesman.
Khader says the burka is un-Danish and oppressive towards women and should be completely banned, although he and his party say that what people do in their own homes is their business, but as soon as they walk into the public domain, one should be able to see their faces.
The Danish People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party have welcomed the proposal, while the senior coalition Liberal Party rejects the idea of legislating about citizens’ clothing as long as they are not in a public function.
“It’s going too far if we start legislating on what sort of clothes people can and cannot wear. The burka and covered faces should not be allowed if you work with people in the public sector – but that is where we draw the line,” says Liberal Political Spokesman Peter Christensen who adds that it is important that politicians know where to draw the line in introducing policy.
Khader, however, says a ban is the only solution regarding the burka.
“My view is that (the burka) is not Islamic at all. The modern burka was introduced by the Taleban when the movement came to power. So I associate the burka with the Taleban,” Khader says.
The burka ban is part of an integration initiative that the Conservative parliamentary group approved on Friday, although the party has not decided what punishment should be meted out to those who break the ban.
“Initially we’re sending out a signal by saying that it should be banned. Then it’s up to the lawyers to find out what sanctions should be introduced,” Khader tells Jyllands-Posten.
Edited by Julian Isherwood