21:08 GMT18 January 2021
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    Austria’s rightwing government announced plans on April 4 to ban headscarves in kindergartens and primary schools to allow all children to be able to “integrate and develop freely.”

    Commenting on the proposed policy, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party’s leader in the Bundestag, Alexander Gauland, said children shouldn’t be sent to school “in disguise” as it prevents integration and “cements parallel societies.”

    "Children should not be sent to the kindergarten or elementary school in disguise. This will cement parallel societies from an early age. Nonetheless, it is a problem that is becoming increasingly common in urban environments across Europe,” the AfD’s leader in the Bundestag was quoted as saying by an official party press release on April 5.

    Mr. Gauland expressed support for Austria’s attempt to ban the hijab in the aforementioned schooling facilities and said Germans can only dream about such a measure coming into effect soon, with Chancellor Angela Merkel in charge.

    “Austria does it right, if this practice is simply forbidden by law. An example that could also serve as a role model for Europe. The Austrian government under Chancellor Kurz tackles problems and consistently implements clear measures. That's something we can only dream about in Germany so far."

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that his government’s “Child Protection Act” – which outlaws headscarves at kindergartens and primary schools – is set to be drafted by summer.

    READ MORE: Headscarves To Be Banned in Primary Schools and Kindergartens in Austria

    Two leading parties – namely the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) – have already expressed support for the bill, but they will need to also convince opposition members to vote in its favor to ensure it passes through parliament and comes into effect.

    Germany and Austria accepted a large number of refugees during the recent migrant crisis, and parties in both countries are now calling for measures to be implemented to address rising levels of multiculturalism, which some view as a threat to European traditions and values.


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    headscarves, integration, Migrant Crisis, German government, Austrian People's Party (OVP), Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Alternative for Germany (AfD), Alexander Gauland, Sebastian Kurz, Angela Merkel, Germany, Europe, Austria
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