Austria court overturns primary school headscarf ban

Komal FatimaWeb Editor

12th Dec, 2020. 01:52 pm
Austria court rejects headscarf ban

Austria has decided to withdraw a law that restricted primary school children from wearing hijabs.

As per the details, the country’s constitutional court has struck down a law forbidding primary school children from wearing religious head coverings.

Austria’s Islamic Faith Community has welcomed the court ruling.

“Ensuring equal opportunities and self-determination for girls and women in our society is not achieved through bans,” it said in a statement.

Court ruling

It said the law was aimed at the Islamic headscarf and breached rights on religious freedom.

The court said the law could lead to the marginalization of Muslim girls.

On the other hand, the court also rejected the government’s stance that the prohibition would protect girls from social pressures.

It said that the state needed to draw up legislation to prevent bullying if necessary on the grounds of gender or religion.

What was the law?

According to the international news agency, the law was passed during the previous coalition government in which the conservative People’s Party was allied with the far-right Freedom Party.

The legislation came into force last year. It prohibited the wearing of “religious clothing that is associated with a covering of the head” for children up to the age of 10. The government had itself said that head coverings worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish skullcap would not be affected.

The court said that the ban was aimed at Muslim hijabs.

“The selective ban… applies exclusively to Muslim schoolgirls and thereby separates them in a discriminatory manner from other pupils,” court President Christoph Grabenwarter said.

Education Minister Heinz Fassman said he took note of the judgment but added, “I regret that girls will not have the opportunity to make their way through the education system free from compulsion.”

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