Man in shark costume falls afoul of face veil ban

Images on social media show officers confronting man in costume days after face-covering law came into force.

    People who break the law on face coverings can get a fine of $166 [Courtesy:Warda Network]
    People who break the law on face coverings can get a fine of $166 [Courtesy:Warda Network]

    A man has been fined by Austrian police for wearing a shark costume under a law aimed at prohibiting face coverings in public.

    Images shared on social media showed the man being questioned by police in the capital Vienna outside the McShark shop, which he was promoting at the time of the incident.

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    On its Facebook page, the computer repair store said the man was fined due to the recently implemented ban on face coverings worn by some Muslim women.

    The law requires people leave the area between the hairline and the chin uncovered.

    "Life is not easy," the shop wrote in a post.

    The advertising company responsible for the promotion, Warda Network, identified the man as James Anderson.

    The costumed man hails from the Irish capital Dublin, according to his Facebook profile.

    In a statement on Twitter, Vienna police said officers were tasked with enforcing the law.

    "Generally, it is allowed to wear disguises or covering for artistic, cultural or traditional events, as well as for professional practice," the statement said.

    "This particular case is currently being examined within the framework of administrative penal proceedings.

    "Moreover, the (police) will be issuing a clarification for all of its employees with regards to situations that have already happened..." 

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    The legislation to ban face coverings was passed by parliamentarians in March and punishes those who violate it with a 150 euro ($166) fine.

    The ban is part of a larger range of measures aimed at curbing the spread of conservative forms of Islam in the country.

    Other measures include restrictions on the distribution of Qurans and mandatory integration classes for new migrants. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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