Austria’s right-wing government has banned Muslim girls from wearing Islamic headscarves in primary school but said Jewish and Sikh head-coverings are unaffected.
The ban, approved on Wednesday, refers to any “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing… that cover the whole or large parts of the hair”.
Ministers from the coalition government, which comprises a centre-right and far-right party, openly admitted that it was aimed at the Islamic headscarf. Opposition parties voted against it, arguing that the ban was a publicity stunt.
Austrian Muslim representatives said the ban was “shameless,” adding that it is likely to be successfully challenged in Austria’s constitutional court on the grounds of religious discrimination.
Austria and several other European countries, such as Belgium, Bulgaria and the Netherlands, have already banned the full face veils in public, while Austrian police officers, judges, magistrates and prosecutors had earlier been banned from wearing a headscarf in public office.