Another European Country Plans To Ban The Burqa
Migrants will also be made to sign ‘integration contracts’.
Austria is the latest country to announce its intent to ban the burqa from courts, schools and public places.
According to planned reforms revealed by the ruling coalition, the government will also consider a wider ban on public employees – such as police officers and judges – wearing a hijab or any religious symbols.
Public servants should instead appear “ideologically and religiously neutral”, the proposal stated.
The move is reportedly a reaction to rising support for the country’s far-right opposition party.
“We are committed to an open society, which also presupposes open communication. A full-face veil in public places stands in its way and will therefore be banned,” the policy said.
According to the BBC, around 150 women in Austria wear the niqab – but while the ban won’t affect great numbers, it could deter tourists from Muslim-majority countries.
The proposed policy also states that asylum seekers granted residence in the European nation will have to take part in an “integration year”, whereby they learn German and volunteer for charity.
A similar ban on Islamic dress has existed in other nearby nations, including France and Belgium, for several years.
France was the first European country to ban the burqa – a clampdown on students in state-run schools began in 2004, and the law came into full effect in April 2011. Anyone caught wearing the burqa or niqab is fined €150 (Dhs749).
However Belgium, which introduced a similar ban shortly after France, goes even further – anyone caught wearing the veil risks being jailed for up to seven days and fined €1,378 (Dhs5,685).
The Netherlands last year voted in favour of banning the burqa in some public spaces, along with helmets and face-concealing masks, and the proposal will now go in front of the country’s Senate.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a national ban on the covering “wherever possible” as she addressed her conservative Christian Democratic Union party last month.
The politician, who is currently campaigning for her fourth term as the nation’s leader, told party attendees that “the full-face veil is not acceptable in our country”.