Vienna: The Austrian government has announced plans to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places. The plan — which would ban the burqa, niqab and other face-covering veils — echoes calls that German Chancellor Angela Merkel made last month for a similar ban in Germany, as per report.
The ban is being seen as a measure to contain the rise of the far-right Freedom Party whose candidate narrowly lost last month’s presidential vote. Detailing the package of reforms, the coalition devoted just two lines to the planned ban on the Islamic niqab and burqa, according to media.
“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,” it said. An estimated 150 women wear the full niqab in Austria but tourism officials have expressed fears the measures will deter visitors from the Gulf.
The document said Austria was introducing the reforms to ensure the “state presents itself in a world-open and religiously neutral manner,” adding civil servants, judges, prosecutors should show neutrality in the way they dress.