• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

I Don’t Like Niqabs and Burqas — but They Should Be Legal

Just as Quebec has outlawed the public wearing of face coverings, those laid-back, liberal-libertine Scandinavians have found a similar place to draw the line. Denmark will soon become the latest country to ban face coverings for women — which is to say, to ban the niqab, or face veil, and burqas, which include gauze over the eyes.

As Reuters recently reported, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria all ban some form of face covering.

But this isn’t about persecuting Muslims immigrants, of course. Heavens, no. After his Liberal Party, the largest in the coalition government, supported the ban, spokesman Jacob Ellemann-Jensen made it clear that “this is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking.”

Yet Denmark, like France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Bavaria, is not widely known for the widespread wearing of face masks. Not a lot of Guy Fawkes masks or Spider-Man masks to be seen on the Champs d’Elysées or the Damrak. Not a lot of hockey goalie face masks or glamorous Venetian masque masks in the shopping malls of Brussels, Sofia or Munich.

No, even Mr. Ellemann-Jensen had to admit, this measure could be predicted to affect precisely one population: those who want to wear a niqab or burqa. Reuters then helpfully reports that this law thus would affect the roughly 200 women in Denmark who wear such garments.

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