Austria finally bans the burka; Germany likely to follow

The State

Muslim women in Austria were forced by police to remove their facial coverings Monday as an anti-burka law came into effect.

The so-called “burka ban” prohibits facial coverings, including niqabs and burkas, and also places restrictions on surgical masks, ski masks and clown make-up worn in public.

Yesterday, a woman wearing a niqab facial veil, which only leaves the eyes uncovered, was seen being told to remove her veil by two police officers in Zell am See, a town south of Saltzburg.

Those who defy the ban could face a fine of 150 euros ($220). 

While the rule applies to some non-religious facial coverings, it is mostly perceived to be directed at the extremely modest clothes worn by a minority of Muslim women.

Full veils remain rare in Austria, despite the surge of migrants and refugees into Europe in 2015, but they have become a target for right-wing groups and political parties. The measures, similar to those in other European Union countries such as France, also apply to visitors, even though large numbers of Arab tourists holiday in the Alpine country.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has previously indicated her support for a similar law in Germany, saying: “Our law takes precedence over codes of honour, tribal or family rules, and over sharia law.”

This article continues at [National Post] It’s the law now: Police in Austria are forcing women to remove their burkas

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