Denmark looks set to become the next European country to restrict the burqa and the niqab, worn by some Muslim women, after most parties in the Danish parliament backed some sort of ban on facial coverings.
Full and partial face veils such as burqas and niqabs divide opinion across Europe, setting advocates of religious freedom against secularists and those who argue that such garments are culturally alien or a symbol of the oppression of women.
The niqab covers everything but the eyes, while the burqa also covers the eyes with a transparent veil.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed some restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils in public places.
This would effectively mean a ban on the niqab and the burqa, he added. Around 200 women in Denmark wear such garments, according to researchers.
Last month the Austrian government issued posters and leaflets threatening Muslim women with fines for wearing face veils, and on October 1 its ban on wearing niqabs and burqas in public came into force.
Belgium also has a nationwide ban which came into effect in 2011, and the European Court of Human Rights recently upheld the country’s right to do so.
France was the first country to implement the ban in April 2011.