Austria to ban ′full-face veil′ in public spaces, says Kern | News | DW | 30.01.2017
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Austria to ban 'full-face veil' in public spaces, says Kern

The Austrian chancellor has announced a new policy program to fend off the challenge of the far-right. The niqab ban is to avoid giving Austrian Muslims the "feeling that they are not part of our society," he said.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on Monday announced a program aimed at fending off the challenge of the far-right, including banning the niqab, a conservative form of Muslim attire.

"The full-face veil will be banned in public spaces," Kern said after Austrian ministers approved the new policy program.

He added that he wanted to avoid "giving 600,000 Muslims in Austria the feeling that they are not part of our society."

The 35-page program said the governing coalition believes in an "open society that is also based on open communication," which the "full-body veils in public spaces stand against."

The conservative Deputy Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said the coalition agreed to "work faster and more clearly."

"It is now up to us to do what governing parties do, namely implement the program," Mitterlehner said.

The new government program comes at a time when the anti-Islamization Freedom Party (FPO) has witnessed a surge in support, resulting in their presidential candidate nearly winning the election in December.

The government's proposals included a general ban on civil servants wearing religious symbols and curbing job access for foreign laborers, especially those from eastern European nations, and requiring that 30 percent of a company's supervisory board members be female.

ls/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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