VIENNA – As the Austrian face-veil ban comes into effect, a Muslim woman was forced to remove her veil Sunday, October 1, in a new challenge to Muslims in the European country.
The Daily Mail reported that a Muslim woman defying the rule was spotted being told to remove her veil in the town of Zell am See.
The move followed the introduction of the new law that bans items concealing the face in public places, such as the full Islamic veil, medical masks, and scarves to cover faces.
In a ruling announcing the ban, officials in Vienna said: “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.”
According to officials, the laws are aimed at “ensuring the cohesion of society in an open society” and anyone violating the rules could be hit with a €150 fine.
Only under certain conditions, such as “at cultural events”, will people be able to wear them in public.
Austrian Muslims are estimated at about nearly 6 percent of the European country’s 8 million population.
In Vienna, Islam is the second-largest religious grouping, after Roman Catholicism.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
A niqab (burqa) is a veil which covers part or most of the wearer’s face, leaving the eyes visible.
Yet, Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands. Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to take on the veil.