Austrian Burqa Ban Passed into Law

A woman wearing a niqab, the islamic full veil, walks in a street of Lyon, eastern France, on January 25, 2010. A ban on the wearing of the full Islamic veil is being studied in several European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria. In France a parliamentary commission is …

Austria has passed into law a ban on wearing full-face Islamic veils, such as the burqa and the niqab, in public. Violators face fines when the legislation comes into effect in October.

The law is part of an integration package agreed upon by the coalition government, comprised of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), after initial resistance by the socialists, Die Welt reports.

The integration package will also prohibit the public distribution of the Quran after a radical Islamist group called “The True Religion” used the handing out of books as a front to recruit new members. The group was ultimately banned in Germany after being raided by police and accused of spreading hatred.

When the law comes into effect in October, the penalty for anyone caught wearing the burqa or niqab will be a fine of roughly 150 euros. Much of the anti-Islamisation aspects of the package were proposed and championed by the new leader of the conservative ÖVP and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.

The legislation also includes provisions for integrating asylum seekers, which will see migrants attend mandatory one-year courses in both German language and Western values.

Migrants will also be made to volunteer their time for unpaid charitable work, which is thought to help them integrate better into Austrian society.

The new law was passed despite the recent turmoil in the Austrian grand coalition due to the surprise resignation of former vice chancellor and former ÖVP leader Reinhold Mitterlehner.

As a result of his resignation, the government has set a date for early elections in mid-October where the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) are expected to make huge gains.

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian (HC) Strache has repeatedly campaigned against Islamisation in Austria. Earlier this year in Salzburg, Mr. Strache vowed to ban Islamism from Austria. He called Islamism: “Antagonistic to women, antiliberal and corresponds to a fascist worldview.”

The FPÖ currently poll just behind the ÖVP who were boosted into first place after Mr. Kurz became the party’s new leader.

A similar effect occurred in Germany when former European Union President Martin Schulz took over the German Social Democrats. But after a poor showing in the North Rhine-Westphalia regional elections, many believe the “Schulz boost” may have already ended.


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