Austria’s parliament has approved a law to ban girls in primary schools from wearing religious headscarves after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz leant his support to the bill as part of his war against “political Islam.”
A party spokesman said the new law is designed to “free girls from submission“, promote integration, and “send a message against political Islam.”
Police officers, judges, magistrates and public prosecutors were also already banned from wearing Islamic headscarves in Austria.
Independent reports: The bill passed late on Wednesday with support from the governing coalition of Chancellor Kurz‘s conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ).
Almost all of the leftwing opposition voted against it. Former Social Democrat Party education minister Sonja Hammerschmid accused the government of focusing on chasing headlines rather than acting to improve child welfare.
The measure does not specifically mention Muslim women, but bans wearing “ideologically or religiously characterised clothing” covering the head, and specifically refers to items “that cover the whole or large parts of the hair”.
The government said the patka head covering worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish yarmulke would not be affected as they only partially cover the hair.
Exceptions will also be made for head coverings for medical reasons or for protection against rain or snow.
The ÖVP’s Rudolf Taschner said the bill was designed to “free girls from submission”, and the FPÖ’s education spokesman Wendelin Mölzer said the law was drawn up to send a message “against political Islam” and to promote integration.
Earlier this year, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the youngest world leader, ordered the closing of seven mosques and began deporting “radical” imams back to their homeland.
The 32-year-old leader also announced plans to turn migrant reception centers in Austria into migrant “departure centers”.
According to Kurz’s Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, the new “departure centers” will give migrants advice on how to return to the country from which they came.
“Parallel societies, politicized Islam or radical tendencies have no place in our country,” Mr. Kurz said at a press conference announcing the measures in Vienna last year while railing against the disastrous consequences of multiculturalism in Western Europe.
The world’s youngest leader believes Muslims must be loyal to Austria and willing to integrate into society if they are to stay in the country.
If they form a “parallel society” and start preaching “political Islam“, identity politics and divisiveness, they will be expelled from Austria.
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