Public sector workers ‘must be BANNED from wearing Islamic hijab, headscarves & veils at work’ says Austrian minister
PUBLIC sector workers – including school teachers – will be forbidden from wearing Islamic headscarves while working if new legislation proposed by Austria’s minister for foreign affairs and integration is passed.
Sebastian Kurz has drafted the new regulations together with Muslim colleague Muna Duzdar to help create a more “secular state”.
Mr Kurz’s spokesman said the legislation was being drafted “because there (at schools), it’s about the effect of role models and the influence on young people”.
Mr Kurz, from the Christian Conservative People’s Party (OVP), added that Austria “is religion-friendly, but also a secular state” – yet claimed it was acceptable to have Christian crosses in classrooms across the country.
He said: “Crosses in the classrooms wouldn’t be questioned. Crosses in the classrooms are part of historically grown culture in Austria.”
Kurz has previously made calls for a nationwide ban on full body veils and urged authorities to implement restrictions on Koran distributions by Salafist Muslims in the central European nation – a move which would go further than the French headscarf ban.
Duzdar, from the Social Democratic Party (SPO), said Kurz and herself were working “on a dialogue with all religious communities”.
She added: “I’m open to discussions about this but in reality one cannot pick individual religions. If you discuss religious dress and symbols, you have to speak about all religions.”
Muslim pressure groups moved quickly to condemn Kurz’s initiative, accusing the minister of double standards.
The new proposals have been dubbed “anti-integrative” and “discriminatory” by the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria (IGGIO), who claim that the legislation could sparks tensions between Muslims and the integration ministry.
Mr Ibrahim Olgun, head of the IGGIO, said wearing headscarves was a form of liberation for women and a symbol that fought against societal “patriarchal prejudices”.
He added: “Do you want to push the emancipated and educated women… push them back into the kitchen?”