Danish police have fined a woman for wearing a niqab in a shopping complex, local media reported.
It’s the first such fine to be issued for violating the country’s contentious law banning full-face Islamic veils in public places, which came into effect on Wednesday.
In accordance with the law, the 28-year-old was asked by police to either remove her veil or leave the public space. She chose the latter.
She was also informed she would receive a fine of 1,000 kroner, about $156, in the mail.
Police were called to a shopping center in Horsholm, north of Copenhagen, where the woman had become involved in an altercation with another woman, police duty officer David Borchersen told the Ritzau news agency.
“During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again,” Borchersen said.
Police are going through surveillance video to determine if the other woman deliberately ripped off the niqab.
Both women have been charged with disturbing the peace, The Copenhagen Post newspaper reported.
The new law bans wearing a burqa, which covers a person’s entire face, or the niqab, which only shows the eyes, in public. The law also prohibits accessories that hide the face such as balaclavas, masks and false beards.
Critics see the law — approved by parliament in May — as encouraging anti-immigrant sentiments, pointing to the very small number of Muslim women in Denmark who actually wear full-face veils.
Supporters of the law argue instead that the ban enables better integration of Muslim immigrants into Danish society.