Denmark:Photo of Danish policewoman and Muslim hugging at demonstration goes viral


Photo of Danish policewoman and Muslim hugging at demonstration goes viral
Ayah, a wearer of the niqab, weeps as she is embraced by a police officer during a demonstration against the Danish face veil ban in Copenhagen. Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
A photo of a police officer hugging an emotional niqab-wearing woman at a demonstration in Denmark on Wednesday has become one of the country’s most widely-shared images this week.

 

The demonstration in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood on Wednesday took place as a new law banning public wearing of face-covering garments including Islamic veils came into effect.

During the demonstration, a 37-year-old woman named Ayah became emotional and was consoled by a police officer.

The embrace was captured by Reuters photographer Andrew Kelly and the story has since become the most viewed article on newspaper Politiken’s website, the newspaper wrote on Thursday.

Social media users also shared the moment widely.

“This picture tells you everything about the fantastic land we want to protect together. These two women are everything I believe in. Not the niqab or the uniform. But love for each other when others want to turn us against each other,” Niddal El-Jabri wrote on Twitter.

The woman in the photograph told Reuters prior to the demonstration that the law would limit her personal freedom.

“This is not the Denmark that we know. I can’t go out when I want to…I have kids, how do I pick them up from the bus and the school and the train?”, Ayah, who is reported to have requested her full name not be published due to threats, said.

“It’s just absurd. I can’t do the things I love to do any more. I can’t go to the museum and the beach, can’t go out and take photos. I’m just going to be a prisoner in my home. But I prefer to be a prisoner in my home to taking off my niqab,” she added.

The 37-year-old also spoke to Politiken after the photo was published.

“It was a very difficult day. We were very insecure, and we didn’t know what to expect. It was overwhelming. And then this dialogue police officer, as I call her, approached us to ask if we were okay and to offer us a drink of water,” she told the Danish newspaper, which took the unusual step of reporting the story in English.

“I told her that everything was fine. And I thought it was great that 3,000 people could march together peacefully,” she added.

She also said the policewoman told her she was personally against the law banning face-covering garments.

“To be honest, I can’t remember the exact sequence of events. But I recall that I was talking to her. And then suddenly I was crying. It was weird, because she was just being nice and friendly. She told me that she was personally against this law, even though she is a police officer,” the 37-year-old said.

“I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, this woman is being really friendly, but she is also a person who is entitled to fine me tomorrow when I leave my house,” she continued.

Similarly to niqabi women interviewed by The Local at Wednesday’s demonstration, Ayah said she would continue to wear the niqab despite the ban.

“I’m not bothering anyone, and I wasn’t a criminal yesterday. I will continue to wear my niqab as I always have. And then I guess I will have to isolate myself even more in my apartment. I’m not a millionaire, you know, so I can’t afford to pay the fines,” she told Politiken.

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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