Austria bans the burqa
The government has allowed for certain exemptions -- such as clown costumes 'at cultural events', work wear such as medical masks, and scarves in cold weather. (Image source: Flickr) Photograph: (Others)
Wearing the burqa in public places and buildings is now illegal in Austria.
The new rules came into effect today.
People will also not be allowed to wear other items concealing the face.
The government however has allowed for certain exemptions -- such as clown costumes "at cultural events", work wear such as medical masks, and scarves in cold weather.
Other measures to apply from October 1 include immigrants signing an 'integration contract' and compulsory courses in the German language and 'values'
AFP reported the government as having said the restrictions are aimed at "ensuring the cohesion of society in an open society".
And that violators will be punished with a fine of up to 150 euros ($177).
AFP quoted the government statement as saying: "Acceptance and respect of Austrian values are basic conditions for successful cohabitation between the majority Austrian population and people from third countries living in Austria."
Other measures to apply from October 1, AFP reported, include immigrants signing an "integration contract" and compulsory courses in the German language and "values".