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Danish party corrects spokesperson on burka ban

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Danish party corrects spokesperson on burka ban
Stock photo: Iris/Scanpix
09:42 CEST+02:00
The Danish opposition Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) Party has clarified its position after a spokesperson appeared to suggest the party would join conservatives in supporting a ban on burkas.

Acting spokesperson Lotte Rod said on Wednesday that she would support a ban on the face-covering veil, joining the populist Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti, DF) in calling for the face-covering burka and niqab to be forbidden in public.

Rod wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that she would “like to support a ban” against the burka and niqab, “if the government then makes a concerted effort to help women out of oppression”.

Leader Sofie Carsten Nielsen later said that the position was Rod's own and does not reflect that of the party as a whole.

“Lotte has made a whole-hearted attempt to place focus in the right area, namely how we should tackle social control. But as Lotte wrote on Facebook, she was speaking on her own behalf,” Nielsen told news agency Ritzau.

In March this year, the European Court of Justice ruled that employers are entitled to ban workers from wearing headscarves after two cases were brought to it by Belgian and French courts.

Following the ruling, DF said that it would like to resurrect its proposal to introduce a ban on the burka and niqab in Denmark.

Rod wrote Tuesday that such a proposal would be supported by her, only to be promptly corrected by party leadership.

“It would be very nice if we could look everyone on their eyes and see their facial expressions when walking down the street or in the supermarket. That means a lot to me,” Rod said on Wednesday according to Ritzau.

Nielsen told the news agency that she agreed with Rod on the importance of being able to see each other's eyes, saying that this was important in Danish society.

“I actually think I agree with Lotte mostly. I just want to make clear the perception of where we stand in the Social Liberal Party. We want to fight social control and oppression,” the party leader said.

“If we start forbidding individual items, we are shifting focus [away from this]. That is exactly what we have accused DF of doing. They are using their energy to discuss symbols, but are doing nothing about social control,” Nielsen added. 

READ ALSO: Legalise facial tattoos: Social Liberals

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