Disputes around Austrian women’s minister’s demand for burka ban

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.