The number of Muslim visitors to a popular Alpine resort are being handed fines for breaking Austria’s controversial burqa ban has shot up by 40 percent in a year.
The strong increase in the number of fines handed out to women ignoring the Austrian burka ban has occurred in the western province of Salzburg.
Picture Credit: CEN
The Austrian Alpine resort of Zell am See in Salzburg has been particularly affected with almost 200 fines handed out so far this year, according to local police.
Zell am See police spokesperson Verena Rainer said: “By mid-July this year we had already handed out 190 fines, last year we only handed out around 115 in total. We expect the total will rise further in August.”
Women deemed to be ignoring the ban are handed a 50-EUR (45-GBP) on-the-spot fine.
The reason for the increase is not known and Rainer added: “We are only controlling as part of our normal everyday controls. The women who have their faces covered have to remove the face coverings and the fine has to be paid on the spot. Nobody has refused to take off their face covering so far this year.”
The picturesque town of Zell am See is said to be particularly popular with Arab visitors. A few years ago tourism chiefs in Salzburg created a controversial etiquette guide for Arabs in a bid to stop them trying to haggle over prices, cooking in their rooms, and dumping their litter around the region.
Picture Credit: CEN
The pamphlets were being handed out to Arabic guests in the lakeside resort of Zell am See, regarded as one of the most picturesque and expensive of Austria’s tourist destinations.
The eight-page etiquette guide called “Where Cultures Meet” is reportedly only handed out to guests from Arab regions.
The most controversial part of the booklet was a debate about whether or not to mention clothing and the burqa at all. The worry was that it could be seen as an attack on Islam.
In the end it was included together with the message that Austrian women can choose to dress how they want and that black is a sign of mourning.
It then also points out that children need to wear seat belts in the car, rubbish needs to be put in the bins, food should not be eaten on the floor of the hotel, cooking in hotel rooms is not tolerated, and prices are not to be negotiated.
Located in the Kitzbuhel Alps, the town is the number one of the country’s lakeside destinations on the edge of the 68-metre (223-foot) deep Lake Zell.
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