Call for a burqa ban rejected by Austrian parliament.
The Local 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.
On a more positive note, the government of Spain’s Catalonia region said on Thursday it would push ahead with a planned burqa ban after a recent European Union ruling that banning full face veils in public did not violate the human rights of Muslim women.
Also, two Muslim women in France were refused access to the beach at Wissous, Essonne, because they were wearing Muslim headscarves.
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.