The “Law to force acceptance and respect of Austrian values” takes effect beginning last Sunday as part of a number of “ integration laws” which the Austrian Parliament passed in May. Even a surgical mask outside hospitals and party masks in public are prohibited. Wearing a full-face veil in public may result in a 150 euro fine ($167).
Police are authorized to use force if people resist showing their faces. The law forbids any kind of full-face covering, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa. Migrants will also be required to enroll in a one-year integration course where they will study the German language and learn about ethics and values in Austria. They will first forced to sign an “integration contract” upon immigrating on the country. The law was applied Sunday by the police to some Muslim women.
“The immigration seen in recent years is changing our country not in a positive but in a negative way,” the leader Sebastian Kurz of the anti-immigration Freedom Party , current foreign minister, said in an interview. This Party is expected to finish second or third in the general election Oct. 14. On the other part, French businessman Rachid Nekkaz pledged to cover all fines imposed on Muslim women in Austria. “I am reaching out to all women in Europe and especially to women in Austria who voluntarily wear the burqa, I will always be there and pay the fines,” he said in September.