New burka ban draws protests in Denmark

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (WTHR) - Denmark's controversial burka ban has sparked protests and debate in the country.

Protesters have been gathering in the capital Copenhagen wearing burkas and other face coverings.

The new law went into effect August 1.

Critics say it targets Muslims, who sometimes wear traditional burkas, which cover the entire face, and niqabs, which only show the eyes.

Both are extremely rare in Denmark.

The government says the law isn't aimed at any religion.

It argues that the law doesn't ban headscarves like the more-common Muslim hijab.

Danish far-right politician Kenneth Kristensen Berth has spoken up in favor of the ban, saying conservative Muslim dress doesn't belong in Denmark. "It's not natural to walk around in Denmark looking like a living tent,” he said. “I think it's absolutely crucial that we have a burka ban. Otherwise we will end up like, yeah, like London where we have niqabs all around."

It's not just Muslim women who've been protesting the burka ban.

Others have shown support by wearing masks and other face coverings on the streets of Copenhagen.

Some say the burka ban law is simply unnecessary.

"I see it as a part of my faith,” said a woman who only identified herself as Sabina. “And now it has also become a part of my identity, which is why I feel so strongly about it. And besides, also being a very spiritual choice for me, I feel that now it has also become a sign of protest against this ban."

Austria, France and Belgium also have similar laws banning facial coverings.

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