20 June 2012
The Department of Interior has fined 4 councilors and 19 supporters of Plataforma per Catalonia (PxC) with 3,000 euros each, for going to a match of FC Barcelona and L’Hospitalet in burqas. The incident occurred during a match of the Copa del Rey on November 9, 2011 when a group of people appeared in the area of L’Hospitalet wearing burkas and a banner reading ‘First the home ones’.
PxC leader whose hallmark is the radical fight against illegal immigration, has insisted that the protest is directed specifically to criticize the sponsorship of ‘Qatar Foundation’ to the soccer team FC Barcelona.
A Conservative MP is attempting to pass a law which would ban people from wearing burkas and balaclavas. Philip Hollobone has put forward parliamentary legislation to regulate the use of “certain facial coverings” in public. Hollobone said this “would obviously have a big impact for those who wear full-face Islamic veils”. He has previously described the burka as “against the British way of life”.
The proposal has stirred much criticism, although it also received some support. A burqa-ban would be un-British, commentators have said.
Social Democrat Women’s Minister Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek has stirred emotions with her demand to ban the burka in Austria. In various interviews on December 23, Heinisch-Hosek said: “I consider the burka a sign of the submission of women. It greatly hinders women from finding jobs in the labor 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.”
Now a banned Islamist organisation, Hizb ut-Tahrir, sent a threatening letter to the minister, in which it condemned the minister’s remarks last week and threatened her using the sentence from the Koran: “And know that Allah is strong in punishment.” The Federal Crime Office (BK) took over the investigation, which is said to be the first serious case of Islamic fundamentalism in Austria.
Male police officers are no longer allowed to check the identity of a woman wearing a burka. Only the few female officers of the police force may do so. This is laid down in a new directive which the Federal Police have issued to its staff. Senator Dirk Claes (Christian democrat) believes that as a consequence persons wearing burkas will no longer be checked. The police unions say the new rule was issued “so as not to provoke”. “Nevertheless, male officers should also be allowed to check the identity of women wearing burkas,” says Philip Van Hamme, the chairman of the NSVP [police union].