Austria joins countries issuing a burqa ban

Q.  Which is the latest country in the world to issue a burqa ban?
- Published on 03 Oct 17

a. Germany
b. France
c. Austria
d. Latvia

ANSWER: Austria
Austria joins countries issuing a burqa banAustria joins countries issuing a burqa ban

A law prohibiting any kind of full-face covering, known popularly as the “Burqa Ban,” takes effect on Oct 1, 2017 in Austria, where the strong support for it portends potential political upheaval in the upcoming national election.

Parties campaigning on an anti-migrant message are poised to win on Oct. 15 and to form a coalition government.

Such a rightward swing in a country that’s had centrist governments almost consistently since World War II could have repercussions across Europe, emboldening politicians who take a hard line on Islam and immigration.

Last week, the right-wing, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party won seats in Germany’s national parliament for the first time after featuring posters with the slogan “Burqas? We prefer bikinis” in its campaign.

The Austrian law called “Prohibition for the Covering of the Face” forbids off-slope ski masks, surgical masks outside hospitals and party masks in public.

Violations carry a possible fine of 150 euros (nearly $180) and police are authorized to use force with people who resist showing their faces.

But its popular name reflects the most prevalent association the garments some Muslim women wear to conceal their whole faces and bodies.

The garments are rare in Austria even after the recent surge of migrants into Europe. Support for the law is strong nonetheless, reflecting anti-Muslim attitudes in the predominantly Catholic country.

Five in seven of those who said they backed the law also said they will vote for the two parties that critics link to anti-Muslim sentiment the traditionally xenophobic Freedom Party and the People’s Party.

The People’s Party avoids the Freedom Party’s inflammatory talk, but has swung radically from the center under new leader Sebastian Kurz to echo that party’s positions on migration.

The Social Democratic Party, currently the majority partner in the government coalition with the People’s Party, has been left struggling.

Under Chancellor Christian Kern, the Social Democrats are focusing on social topics and claiming credit for Austria’s recent economic upturn. But Kern’s message is not coming across well.

A Unique Research poll of 1,500 respondents published on Thursday showed the Social Democrats with 27 % support, ahead of the Freedom Party at 25 % but trailing the People’s Party with 34 %. The poll had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Previously associated with stagnation and lack of direction, the People’s Party was trailing in third place until Kurz, Austria’s telegenic 31-year old foreign minister, took leadership in May after securing party pledges of full authority.

Although the People’s Party was part of the government coalition that opened its borders to more than 100,000 migrants in 2015, the party now says that “the political establishment failed in dealing with the refugee crisis.”

Austria and Migration
  • Calling for zero illegal immigration, the right wing attracts Austrians who support the Freedom Party and its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, on migration.
  • It has been pledged face-cover ban will be rigorously enforced.
  • Muslim women leaders see as insincere the claim the law is intended to help oppressed women.

Post your comment / Share knowledge

Enter the code shown above:
(Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.)