Denmark: Headscarves OK in parliament

The long-standing conflict over whether an MP may wear a headscarf in parliament was resolved by the board of governors

It was a victory for the Red-Green Party's Asmaa Abdol-Hamid and a bitter defeat for the Danish People's Party on Tuesday when parliament's board of governors ruled that MPs may dress as they wish in parliament, so long as they can be recognised by their colleagues.

The decision was specific taken up in response to the issue of women wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf.

Abdol-Hamid is a parliamentary candidate for her party, and she said she would continue wearing her headscarf should she become an MP. The Danish People's Party (DF) sought to forbid headscarves in parliament and filed a complaint with the board.

Although the board approved the wearing of headscarves, its ruling means the Muslim burka, which covers all of a woman's body, is forbidden.

Abdol-Hamid was happy with the ruling.

'It's the decision I expected. Anything else would have been a blow against democracy and in conflict with the constitution,' she said.

Søren Espersen, DF's board member, was the only one voting against the headscarf in parliament.

'I'm saddened by the decision. It's a bow to the oppression the headscarf symbolises,' said Espersen.