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Austria's Ban On Full-Face Veils Comes Into Force

Legislation banning full-face veils in public spaces went into effect in Austria on October 1.

The government says the law banning clothing such as the face-covering niqab or all-encompassing burqa is about protecting Austrian values and promotes integration.

Those who are stopped by police officers and refuse to take off their veils face a penalty of 150 euros ($176).

Muslim groups have condemned the ban, saying just a small minority of Muslims in Austria wear full-face veils.

The new rule is part of a package of policies that conservative Foreign and Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz initiated amid his drive to win the October 15 general elections.

France and Belgium introduced a ban on full-face veils in 2011. The European Court of Human Rights confirmed in July that such prohibitions are legal.

Based on reporting by dpa and the BBC