A 28-year-old Muslim woman in Denmark was the first to be fined for wearing a niqab or full-face veil on August 1 when a new law banning such headwear in public places came into effect, local media report.
Danish police arrived at a shopping centre in Horsholm north of Copenhagen where the woman in question had a fight with another woman who tried to tear her veil off, said police officer David Borchersen.
The woman’s veil came off during the fight but she put it on again before the cops arrived.
Police explained the new law to the woman and asked her to remove her veil or leave the shopping centre. She chose to leave and was fined 1,000 kroner ($156).
Police are examining the surveillance video to find if the other woman deliberately removed the veil.
Both the women have been charged with disturbing the peace.
While the two were fighting over the headwear in Horsholm, an emotional scene was unfolding in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood where a police officer was hugging and consoling a 37-year-old Muslim woman Ayah fighting back tears as she marched in protest against the ban on full-face veils.
The emotional scene was captured by a photo journalist on camera and the image became a hit on social media.
A Twitter user commented that the two women represented love which has no borders.
Critics see Denmark’s veil ban as a way to stoke up anti-immigrant sentiments.
Supporters of the new law say the ban will help Muslim immigrants to quickly integrate into Danish society.
Businessman to pay fines?
A French-Algerian businessman says that, as promised, he will pay fines imposed on Muslim women by Denmark, Danish media reports.
Businessman and activist Rachid Nekkaz told the Berlingske daily he would be visiting Denmark next month to pay fines. Nekkaz, 46, has already paid fines in other European countries, which have introduced similar ban, from a $1.16 million fund he set up for the purpose.
However, Martin Henriksen of the populist Danish People’s Party said that if Nekkaz pays the fine, the sum should be considered as income and the women who have been fined should be taxed accordingly.
Henriksen also wants the government to consider introducing a prison sentence of up to 14 days for repeat offenders.
Marcus Knuth, a member of parliament for the Liberal Party, said community service could possibly be added as a punishment.