A law that forbids any kind of full-face covering, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa, has come into force in Austria. Starting on Monday, wearing a ski mask off the slopes, a surgical mask outside hospitals and party masks in public is prohibited.
The law, popularly known as the “burqa ban,” is mostly seen as a directed at the dress worn by some ultra-conservative Muslim women. Violations carry a possible fine of nearly $180. Police are authorized to use force if people resist showing their faces.
Only a small number of Muslim women in Austria wear full-face veils, but they have become a target for right-wing groups and political parties. France and Belgium have similar laws. The nationalist Alternative for Germany party is calling for one there, too.