Veiled Islamist Activist Arrested in Burqa-Ban Vienna

Nora Illi, the women's representative of an unofficial group called the Islamic Centr

Swiss Islamist activist Nora Illi was briefly detained by police in Vienna after she and three other women wore full-face Islamic veils in the centre of the city, where wearing the garment is banned.

Ms. Illi, who is known for her outspoken advocacy of the Islamic veil and regularly wears a niqab, walked around the central Stephanplatz square where the famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located. The four women walked around the area for around half an hour before being approached by police who asked them to remove their facial coverings, Kronen Zeitung reports.

Illi is a member of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS), which posted a half hour long video of her and her companions walking around and speaking to journalists.

After the women refused the police order to remove their veils, all four were taken to a nearby police station to confirm their identity. They will likely all be fined. The stunt echoes that of Algerian millionaire Rachid Nekkaz who wore a face mask last month to protest the ban and has offered to pay the fines of anyone who breaks the law.

The stunt is not the first time Ms. Illi has publicly advocated for the full-face veil. Last year, she appeared on the popular political talk show Anne Will wearing a niqab. Illi was forced to defend an essay she wrote in 2014 in which she praised Muslims who had gone to Syria to fight against the Syrian regime.

Other guests on the programme, which included conservative politician Wolfgang Bosbach and former Islamist Ahmad Mansour, criticised public broadcaster ARD for giving Illi a platform.

The ban on the Islamic veil was proposed by Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) leader Sebastian Kurz last year and passed earlier this year. The law came into effect on October 1st.

Kurz, who decisively won the Austrian national election in October, is currently in coalition negotiations with the anti-Islamisation Freedom Party (FPÖ) whose leader Heinz-Christian Strache has vowed to ban Islamism from the country entirely.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 



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