Woman fined $200 in Denmark's 1st 'burqa ban' violation

A 28-year-old woman wearing a face veil has become the first person in Denmark to be fined for violating a new law banning such garments in public places.

28-year-old was asked to remove niqab covering her face at shopping centre

People demonstrate in Copenhagen on Wednesday as Denmark's new ban on garments covering the face is implemented. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

A 28-year-old woman wearing a face veil has become the first person in Denmark to be fined for violating a new law banning such garments in public places.

Danish news agency Ritzau reported that police were called Friday to a shopping centre in Horsholm, a city of 46,000 close to Copenhagen, to confront a woman wearing a niqab covering her face.

The woman was fined 1,000 Danish kroner ($200 Cdn) and was asked to either remove the veil or leave the premises. She opted to leave.

Since Aug.1, the country's much-debated "burqa ban" has prohibited full-body burqas, as well the niqab — Muslim dress which only shows the eyes. Both are rare in Denmark.

The government says the law is not aimed at any religion and does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.

The Danish law allows people 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.

Austria, France and Belgium have similar laws.