No place for veil in Denmark, says prime minister

The face-covering burqa and niqab veils worn by some Muslim women “have no place in Danish society”, Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen has said.

“They symbolise a view of women and humanity that we totally oppose and that we want to combat in Danish society,” he said. Denmark was “an open, democratic society where we look at the person to whom we are talking, whether it’s in a classroom or on the job. That is why we don’t want to see this garment in Danish society.”

Mr Rasmussen said his centre-right government was “discussing ways of limiting the wearing” of the veils without violating the Scandinavian country’s constitution.

The prime minister’s comments came a day after the publication of a report which showed that use of the burqa was “extremely rare” in Denmark, though no figures were given, and that the niqab was worn by “between 100 and 200” women.

Some 100,000 Muslim women live in Denmark, representing about 1.9 per cent of Denmark’s total population of 5.5 million. Some 0.15 per cent of the Muslim women wear the niqab, according to the report.

AFP, 19 January 2010

See also Politiken, 19 January 2010