Denmark looks set to become the next European country to restrict the burqa and the niqab, worn by some Muslim women, after most parties in the Danish parliament backed some sort of ban on facial coverings.
Full and partial face veils such as burqas and niqabs divide opinion across Europe, setting advocates of religious freedom against secularists and those who argue that such garments are culturally alien or a symbol of the oppression of women.
The niqab covers everything but the eyes, while the burqa also covers the eyes with a transparent veil.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed some restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils in public places.
"This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking," Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, spokesman for the Liberal Party, told reporters on Friday after his party, the largest in the coalition government, decided to back a ban.