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Denmark government to propose headscarf ban for judges

[JURIST] The Danish government said Wednesday that it would propose new legislation to ban sitting judges from wearing religious dress [JURIST news archive], including Islamic headscarves, in court. Also Wednesday, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen [official website] criticized Immigration Minister Birthe Roenn Hornbech for writing a newspaper editorial [text, in Danish] published Tuesday opposing the proposal; Rasmussen said that she should have cleared the editorial through him before publication. AP has more.

Religious headscarves have become a controversial topic in several Western countries recently, as lawmakers struggle to balance an individual's right to practice their religion with public policy and security concerns. On Monday, a US federal judge dismissed a federal lawsuit [JURIST reports] filed by a Muslim woman against a judge who asked her to remove her niqab in court. In September 2007, Canadian chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand resisted calls by Canadian lawmakers [JURIST report] to invoke his discretionary powers to require women to remove traditional Muslim niqabs or burqas when voting in elections in the province of Quebec. In the UK, the High Court in February 2007 upheld [JURIST report] a school ban on students wearing niqabs in class, saying the veils could interfere with student-teacher interaction.

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