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Women's minister considering burka ban

By David Rogers

Social Democratic (SPÖ) Women’s Minister Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek said in several media interviews today (Weds) she supported a ban on burkas or garments covering women’s bodies entirely.

She added, however, there was not problem in Austria but, if one developed, she would ban burkas in public places to see if a ban would work.

"I consider the burka as a sign of the submission of women. It greatly hinders women from finding jobs in the labour market. If more women wearing burkas appear in Austria, I will test a ban on them and enact administrative fines for women wearing them in public buildings," she said.

As for head scarves, the minister said it was up to women to decide whether to wear them even if they were also a sign of the submission of women to men.

She added that Islam was a danger to women’s rights when it led to "politically fundamentalist-oriented policies" such as the mandatory wearing of burkas.

The SPÖ had protested when People’s Party Science Minister Johannes Hahn suggested a ban on burkas last year.

Support of a ban on burkas has been growing in Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland.

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