Austria’s government aims to ban headscarves in kindergarten

  • Austria’s right-wing government announced plans to ban girls from wearing headscarves in kindergarten and primary schools to combat what it sees as a threat to Austrian mainstream culture from some Muslims.
  • Austria took in more than one percent of its population in asylum seekers during Europe’s migration crisis, an issue that helped Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives win an election last year by taking a hard line on immigration.
  • “Our goal is to confront any development of parallel societies in Austria,” Kurz told ORF radio, using a term he and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), the coalition partner, favour to describe what they see as a threat posed by some Muslims to mainstream culture.
  • “Girls wearing a headscarf in kindergarten or primary school is of course part of that.”
  • For any headscarf ban to come into force in kindergartens, which are run by Austria’s provinces, the government would need a two-thirds majority in parliament and therefore the support of either the Social Democrats or the liberal Neos party.

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