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Burqa ban rejected by parliament

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Burqa ban rejected by parliament
Women wearing the chador in Shiraz. Photo: Gabriel White/Flickr
21:44 CEST+02:00
The Austrian Press Agency reported Friday that the Freedom Party's (FPÖ) proposed bill to ban the wearing of the burqa and other similar religious headgear traditionally worn by Muslim women has been defeated due to lack of support by the Austrian parliament.

The proposed law from the far-right Freedom Party is based on the recent confirmation by the Strasborg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that a similar law in France is permissible under European human rights laws.

Only Team Stronach, a liberal and euro-skeptic party funded by a Canadian-Austrian auto-parts billionaire, supported the proposed bill.

Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) member Maria Fekter opposed the ban on the basis that women who wore the burqa tended to be wealthy visitors from Saudi Arabia, who might be discouraged from spending money while visiting the country.

FPÖ parliamentarian Carmen Gartelgruber described the wearing of veils as "a symbol of the oppression of women."  However Nurten Yilmaz (Social Democrats/SPÖ) questioned the feminist credentials of a party which opposed updating the national anthem to remove sexist language.

Greens member Alev Koruns also rejected the FPÖ proposal, saying that it "fails to help a single woman", while NEOS MP Nikolaus Scherak said that the veil wasn't a problem in Austria, and a ban would make little sense.

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