Austria's Burqa Ban Spares No One, Not Even People Dressed As Sharks

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A man wearing a shark outfit for a promotion has been given a caution after allegedly breaking Austria's new laws that ban burkas.

The ban, which went into effect October 1, prohibits people from obscuring their face from the hairline to the chin, which many see as a ban on the burqa, a veil that some Muslim women wear.

He is understood to have refused several requests to take off his shark's head. A victim of that confusion was a man dressed like a shark, the latest to be ensnared, authorities admitted. He responded "I'm just doing my job", according to Heute.

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The managing director of the advertising agency responsible for the campaign, Eugen Prosquill, told the newspaper he was not aware the new law applied to mascots.

The Österreich reports police officers acted after a member of the public reported the mascot.

"Acceptance and respect of Austrian values are basic conditions for successful cohabitation between the majority [of the] Austrian population and people from third [world] countries living in Austria", said a statement from the government of Austria's Chancellor Christian Kern, issued when the ban came into effect.

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Police have called for the new law to be clarified although it is believed Halloween events will not be affected by the legislation, adds the paper.

The violation carries a fine of €150 or almost $180.

Under Austria's veil ban, which only applies in public places, someone can be fined for wearing a scarf over their face in cold weather or a face-covering balaclava.

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Austrian lawmakers passed the ban in May, despite the tiny number of Muslim women in the country who sport the face-covering burqa.

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