Austria has recently introduced a full-face veil ban in public spaces. There is not a large Muslim population in Austria, as this ban only affects roughly 150 women. This act has been seen as largely symbolic, as there is increasing public pressure on the government to take action against Muslims. Many Austrians believe that their culture is being eroded, and a study conducted showed that 65% of people in Austria found the clothings and behaviors of Muslims to be disturbing, the veil ban is a direct response to these thoughts.
The veil can be seen as a totem of the Islamic religion, as many people wear it as a part of their faith. But a totem symbolizes two things, Durkheim wrote: “But it is also the symbol of the determined society called the clan. It is its flag…” (112). The Eurasian continent has seen an increase of terrorism conducted by Islamic terrorist organizations, the ban of the full face veil is a response to the fear that the people of Austria have of these organizations. The Austrian people seem to believe that the face veil represents these terrorist organizations. This is similar to how Durkheim says that the totem is a representation of the group, instead of the veil being a representation of the Islamic faith it is representing these violent terrorist organizations. And with the increase in activity of these various terrorist organizations throughout the world, the ban on the veil comes as act to suppress the totem that is representative of those terrorist organizations.