Danish fashion designer makes statement on burka ban

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An Iranian-born designer has showcased models wearing burkas and dressed as police officers at a fashion show in Denmark.

The bold statement comes days after a law banning the full face coverings worn by some Muslim women took effect in the country.

Reza Etamadi said of his MUF10 brand’s Copenhagen Fashion Week show: “I have a duty to support all women’s freedom of speech and freedom of thought.”

Denmark’s much-debated Burka ban has prohibited burkas and niqab – Muslim dress which only shows the eyes – in public places since August 1. Both are rare in Denmark.

Models display creations by Iranian born designer Reza Etamadi
The full face veil has recently been banned in Denmark (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP )

The government says the law is not aimed at any religion and does not ban headscarves like the more-common Muslim hijab, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.

The Danish law allows people to cover their face when there is a “recognisable purpose” like cold weather or complying with other legal requirements, such as using motorcycle helmets.

Anyone forcing a person to wear garments covering the face by using force or threats can be fined or face up to two years in prison.

Austria, France and Belgium have similar laws.

By enforcing the ban, authorities are violating women’s rights and “the free choice we in the Western world are known for and proud to have,” he said in connection with the semi-annual fashion industry event.

“In Iran where I was born, women fight to freely choose what to wear,” Mr Etamadi said, adding: “In Denmark, where I grew up, (…) women were free to choose how dressed or covered they wanted to dress.

“I have no unanimous attitude toward the ban in general but I have a principle: No man should decide what women should wear.”

On Sunday, a woman wearing a face veil became the first person in Denmark to be penalised for violating the new law, and was fined 1,000 Danish kroner (£120). Police asked her to either remove the veil or leave the premises. She opted to leave.

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