Austria’s right-wing government banned headscarves in primary schools after a law was approved by the country’s lawmakers, reported The Guardian.
The law’s text states that it will target any “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head”.
However, the government admitted that headgear worn by Sikh boys or the patka and the Jewish kippa will not be affected by the law. Other head covers that do not fall under the ban passed on Wednesday includes medical bandages and rain and snow protectors.
Representatives of both parts of the governing coalition, the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), clarified that even though the law was worded vaguely it was still targeting the Islamic headscarf.
FPÖ Education Spokesperson Wendelin Mölzer said the law was “a signal against political Islam” while the ÖVP MP Rudolf Taschner said the measure was necessary to free girls from subjugation.
Austria’s official Muslim community organisation, IGGÖ, has condemned the proposals as “shameless” and a “direct assault on the religious freedom of Austrian Muslims”. It has also hinted at challenging the validity of the law in court.
The MPs from the opposition, alleged that the government is focused on positive headlines rather than the children’s welfare and voted against the measure.
Some were of the opinion that the ban will do more harm than good and some even mocked the government by saying there is no evidence that girls would learn less while wearing a headscarf.