Headscarves To Be Banned in Primary Schools and Kindergartens in Austria

© Flickr / DFIDSyrian and Lebanese girls huddle round in a group discussion about early marriage at a community centre in southern Lebanon.
Syrian and Lebanese girls huddle round in a group discussion about early marriage at a community centre in southern Lebanon. - Sputnik International
The so-called "Children Protection Act," which outlaws headscarves for little girls, will be drafted by summer.

Austrian ministers have announced their plan to ban headscarves in elementary schools and kindergartens across the country with a "Children Protection Act.” Education Minister Heinz Fassmann announced that the new legislation will be a "symbolic" act, regardless how many girls are to follow the new rule. The draft of the law is to be ready by the summer holiday, according to the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, representing the center-right People's Party (ÖVP).

The country’s leader stated in the joint press conference with fellow ministers that all children in Austria should have the same opportunities, saying, "It also means that there should be no discrimination at a young age … all children, boys and girls should have the same rights.”

The proposal is also backed by Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, who is also the boss of the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). He claimed that girls "under the age of 10 must be protected" and be able to "integrate and develop freely."

The joint commitment of Kurz’s ÖVP and FPÖ is not enough, as the law can be adopted only by the constitutional majority, so the two parties have to sway the opposition parties to this decision.

However, it’s still unclear how many girls will be affected by the legislation. According to the Kurier newspaper, neither the government nor experts in the field could say how many girls under 10 currently wear headscarves.

The proposal is questioned on Twitter, as users are unsure about its purpose.

Can somebody tell me what percent of Muslim children between 3 and 10 wear hijabs? And how many in the exact numbers?

A ban on a cloth is populism, which changes nothing. If you want to educate the girls better, give more money for education, promote their self-confidence, provide for them, give them perspectives!

I’m curious, what the law would exactly state. Should the toddlers put such handkerchiefs away?

Half a year ago Austria banned face veils, forbidding full coverage with clothing in public places. The new rule, targeting those wearing burqas and niqabs, was proclaimed to help integrate Muslims. Those who are caught wearing them can be charged $185. According to the Welt newspaper, about 50 people have been charged over six months.

READ MORE: Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Man in a Shark Costume Caught by Austria's New Burqa Ban 

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