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A burqa clad Indian woman checks her phone at a street in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. India's top court affirmed people's right to free speech in cyberspace Tuesday by striking down a provision that had called for imprisoning people who send "offensive" messages by computer or cellphone.The provision, known as Section 66A of the 2008 Information Technology Act, had made sending such messages a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

Austria may ban burqas amid growing concerns over Islamophobia in Europe


The government of Austria may ban burqas and other full-face veils commonly worn by Islamic women, CNN reports.

That would make it the fourth European Union nation to do so amid growing concerns over Islamophobia. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has also called for a ban.

A coalition of Austria's leading political parties published a 35-page document calling for an "open society that requires open communications. Full-face veils in public places are the opposite of that and will be banned."

A woman clad in a burqa looks at other pieces of Afghanistan's traditional, all-encompassing dress at a store in Mazar-i Sharif, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Mustafa Najafizada)

The plan would also require asylum seekers and some immigrants to sign an "integration contract" with harsh sanctions if the contract is violated.

In this Thursday, April 11, 2013 photo, an Afghan woman waits to get in line to try on a new burqa at a shop in the old town of Kabul, Afghanistan. Despite advances in womens rights, Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative country and most women continue to wear the Burqa. But tradesmen say times are changing in Kabul at least, with demand for burqas declining as young women going to school and taking office jobs refuse to wear the cumbersome garments. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

France banned burqas in public places in 2011. Belgium and Bulgaria followed suit. Some Dutch lawmakers have supported a ban, but it has not been approved. Parts of Italy and Switzerland have also banned burqas, Express reports.

The most popular kinds of Muslim head coverings

  • Hijab: A headscarf that covers the hair and neck,leaving the face exposed. This also refers to the practice of covering up in general, the BBC reports.
  • Niqab: A veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear, but covers everything else.
  • Burka: A veil that covers the entire face and body, sometimes with a mesh screen to see through.
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