Austrian govt bans headscarf for girls

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The right-wing government in Australia on Wednesday, announcing a plan to draft a new bill said that girls attending day care centres and elementary schools should no longer be wearing headscarves.

“The veiling of small children should definitely have no place in our country,” conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters after a meeting. He said that the step will curb gender discrimination against girls and prevent the development of marginalized “parallel societies” within Austria.

“It’s important to take a stance against political Islam. We want to make sure that children grow up free and that they are not pulled into these [Islamic] mechanisms,” added Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party.

When asked for statistics that underpin the new policy, Kurz was not able to provide numbers but said that “it is a growing problem.Half a year ago, a ban on face veils came into effect in Austria – a policy that likewise affects only a small number of people. So far, police have cited only 50 transgressors.

To pass the new headscarf ban for girls, the two right-wing government parties need the support of one opposition party in parliament, to secure a necessary two-thirds majority.Social Democrats and Liberals signalled Wednesday that would consider the bill, while calling for a package of integration policies rather than symbolic steps like a ban. NAN

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