Austria’s parliament has approved a proposal that will outlaw Islamic burqas, niqabs and other face-covering garments in public places, universities, courts or on transport.
Opponents say the ban is both “discriminatory” and “unnecessary” as only a small number of women in the country wear veils.
“Those who are not prepared to accept Enlightenment values will have to leave our country and society,” reads the text of the new law.
The prohibition, which will come into effect in October, will see women wearing full-face veils in public fined €150 (£130) as part of new integration policies.
It drew thousands of protesters to the streets earlier this year, before it was passed by a centrist coalition last month. Organizers said: “Every woman must be able to move freely in public without harassment and discrimination - no matter what she does or does not wear.”
Earlier this year, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said women should be able to dress however they want.
“And it is not only Muslim women, all women can wear a headscarf, and if this real and rampant Islamaphobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons,” he added.