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Freedom Party calls for burqa ban

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Photo: APA (dpa)
13:43 CEST+02:00
Austria's Freedom Party (FPÖ) is calling for a ban on burqas, after the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) backed France's rules on religious headgear on Tuesday, when it ruled the country's law banning full-face veils in public was legal.

The ECHR ruled that France's ban on the wearing of the full-face veil in public does not violate the human rights of Muslim women. Judges said the law was justified on the grounds of social cohesion.

Freedom Party spokeswoman Carmen Gartelgruber said that in the "wide, conservative circles of Islamic immigration society", the opinion prevails that women are second-class citizens. One of the many instruments for oppressing women is the burqa, she added.

A motion will be introduced to Austria's parliament next week to ban the public wearing of the garment, based on the latest ruling.  A similar move is being proposed in Denmark, by the right-wing Danish People's Party.

There is also no religious compulsion in Islam to be fully veiled, which is why a ban did not constitute a break with religious freedom in Austria, the Freedom Party said.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) backed France's rules on religious headgear on Tuesday when it ruled the country's law banning full-face veils in public was legal. 

According to the justices, the controversial law introduced in 2010 does not exceed the authority granted to states in the European Convention on Human Rights and thus France's ban on wearing veils like the burqa and niqab in public, doesn't violate the religious and human freedoms of Muslim women.

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The ruling was in relation to a case brought by a 24-year-old woman who is a "devout Muslim and she wears the burqa and niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions."

Her legal team argued that the ban violated her rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and a prohibition against discrimination.

 
 
 

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