Local values to be respected
19 May, 2017
Austrian lawmakers approved last week a bill that outlaws wearing a full-face veil in public, the fine will be €150. The provision is part of a larger integration law that also forbids distributing the Koran, requires asylum seekers to learn German and ethics and to perform unpaid public work. Anyone refusing to do so would lose out on benefits.
Also last week Italy's Court of Cassation ruled that a Sikh man was not allowed to carry a knife considered sacred by his religion in public. Migrants have a duty to conform to local values in the society they choose to move to, the court said, even if those values are different from their home country. The kirpan, a small knife or sword, is one of five religious articles many Sikhs carry with them at all times. The Italian judges rejected the appeal of a Sikh who had been fined €2,000 in 2015 for carrying an 18cm-long kirpan in Goito, a town in Lombardy. Denmark became the world's first country to explicitly ban kirpans in 2006.