Austria bans burqa in public places

Austrian Parlaiment says no to burqas in government offices, schools, workplaces; approves laws to fight Islamic extremism.

Nissan Tzur,

Muslim woman in burqa (illustration)
Muslim woman in burqa (illustration)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The Austrian Parliament on Friday approved a law which bans wearing the burqa in public places.

The law will take effect on October 1, 2017. Prior to the vote, the law was approved by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.

Beginning from October 1, women will no longer be allowed to cover their faces in public. The list of public places includes workplaces, schools, government offices, and so on.

A 150 euro fine will be given to those who violate the law.

Austria's Parliament also approved a series of laws intended to fight the Islamic extremism resulting from the recent wave of Syrian immigrants arriving in the country.

One of the laws allows municipalities to raid any place which disseminates incitement or extremist material. In addition, immigrants who receive permission to live in Austria must sign an "integration contract" in which they promise to abide by Austrian law and take part in activities which will help them integrate into society.

Immigrants will also need to sign up for a 12-month integration program which will include courses teaching the German language and courses teaching "morals." The government will reduce an immigrant's government aid if he does not pass the program.

90,000 Muslim immigrants have arrived in Austria since 2015. Some of these immigrants were involved in criminal activity, including rape, which shocked the country.

Austria's right-wing Freedom Party opposes accepting immigrants. Elections will be held on October 15, 2017, and the party is currently enjoying a surge in popularity and support.




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