Austrian government moves to ban full-face veil

Kern replaces fellow Social Democrat Werner Faymann of the SPOe party who threw in the towel on May 9 after a string of poor

The move is seen as largely symbolic since an estimated 150 women in Austria wear the niqab, which exposes only the eyes, or the burqa, which covers the face entirely.

The FPO has topped opinion polls for months, boosted by Europe's migrant crisis and the influx of large numbers of often Muslim asylum seekers, and last month its candidate came close to winning Austria's presidential election.

Tarafa Baghajati, chair of the Austrian Muslim Initiative, said that even though he personally disagrees with full-face veils, he believes a ban is "counterproductive".

In an interview [transcript, in German], the Vice-Chancellor suggests that the ban will mostly affect tourists, although police officers will also be prohibited from wearing head scarves.

Chancellor Christian Kern of the center-left Social Democrats and Reinhold Mitterlehner of the conservative People's Party declined to comment on details of the plan in separate remarks after talks ended in Vienna Sunday night. "A full-face veil in public places stands in its way and will therefore be banned", the document said.

It is now a draft law, but the ban is due to come into force before the next parliamentary vote in 2018.

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The ban is also coming amid growing concerns of harassment against Muslims around the world following US President Donald Trump's temporary ban on citizens from some Muslim-majority countries entering the United States.

According to Chancellor Christian Kern, the ban will be implemented over the next 18 months, The Sun reported.

France, in 2010, was the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public.

Austria is set to ban wearing full-face veils in public, joining Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Switzerland, who also have approved similar bans.

It's also being suggested that migrants will need to sign an "integration contract" and a "statement of values" upon arrival into the country with "those who are not prepared to accept Enlightenment values having to leave" their country 'and society'.

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