Austria’s government aims to ban headscarves in kindergartens

Austrian leader

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the proposed anti-hijab law would aim to combat what the government sees as a threat to Austrian mainstream culture from some Muslims

Source: Reuters International

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s right-wing government announced plans on Wednesday 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.”

If any such plan became law it would apply to girls of up to around the age of 10 years.

Many Muslims believe their religion requires girls to wear a headscarf from puberty. Headscarves are rarely worn before then.

Kurz, at a news conference with Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPO, said they believed there was a problem in schools though they produced no figures to support this.

“What I can tell you is that it is a growing phenomenon. A few decades ago we did not have this in Austria and now it occurs primarily in Islamic kindergartens but also here and there in public establishments of Vienna and other cities,” Kurz said.

He said a bill would be drawn up.

Austria’s main Muslim organisation was not immediately available for comment.

The previous coalition of Social Democrats and Kurz’s conservatives, passed a law banning face coverings including Muslim full-face veils in public spaces, but women and girls are free to wear regular hijab.

It considered banning teachers from wearing headscarves but that plan was dropped after a debate over religious symbols in schools such as the Catholic crosses that still hang on many classroom walls.

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.

While the Social Democrats said they wanted a broader package of measures, they did not rule out cooperation. The Neos said they would examine the text drawn up by the government.

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36 replies

  1. It’s hardly a question of being scared of the child, but rather of being concerned that she is not able to enjoy the freedoms that nature has bestowed on her. She is not a statue. Let her run as well as play sport. Let the wind blow through her hair. Fortunately, not all Muslims are so conservative, but we are seeing too many shrouded girls and women nowadays. They are alien to the non-Muslim world and choose to live isolated from the the mainstream. Why should this be tolerated, especially as it wouldn’t be for non-Muslims in Muslim countries? It is possible to be modest without being shrouded in Arabic clothing, leave that where it belongs, that is in the desert of Arabia, if that is what they want. Ridiculous laws made by men for the benefit of men. The Muslim world is certainly regressing, and that includes the Ahmadies, they were far more liberal 50 years ago.

    • Renate— I agree with you, well said— sometime when I read some comment from Ahmadiyyah it is closer to the extremist Muslim ideology—

      whereas Ahmadiyyah have been living in the plural society or the westren or civil cosiety— but still follow the ancient Islamic law as the extremist Saudi, Iran, and Isis.

      They are better to die to protect Hijab( it is a tiny thing in Islam-/ there are so many things Muslim can do than Hijab). It does not make sense at all, it is insane.

      We still keep hoping Ahmadiyyah can lead Muslim community to reject Hijab or burqa in public until we cannot see terrorist Muslim anymore.

      Nowadays non Muslim society are afraid of terrorist Muslim. Therefore let women not to wear Hijab and burqa in public. It is our responsibility to make people around us feel peace—

      All ❤️
      Please do not erase my comment. Thank you

      • Well, it is clear that the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community strongly recommend the Hijab. Question: As from which age is it ‘appropriate’ ? For your information, as far as I know the Shias of Iran have a ceremony for girls at the age of 9 to start putting the hijab. My experience: InnocentTeenagers are not aware of their beauty and if you leave it ‘up to them’ they will sort of ‘miss’ the correct time to start wearing it. Hijab wearing ladies kindly comment. (and you may ignore Somi repeating the same thing again and again).

      • By “Extremist muslim ideoligy”, if you mean to say the people of principle, those who adhere to the injunctions laid down by Allah and do not cross the limits, yes Ahmadiyya muslims do give reverence to Allah’s commandments more than anything.
        Peace means to live and let live. It does not means that one should usurp other’s right to wear a dress of his or her choice.

      • Somi why don’t you just let the women be free to decide for themselves? Why do you have to enslave them and be their keep and tell them what to wear.

    • Of course girls with hijab enjoy their childhood everywhere as well. True, in the West they may ‘stand out’. Therefore my question above to the hijab wearing ladies, Rifat and others. …

    • Renate: Sorry to say but I do not think that the right-wing politicians have the well-being of the child at heart. (for further details see my other comment).

  2. We feel free and independent from sexualisation due to wearing the hijab and dressing modestly. Before Islam I use to think I’m free to wear short skirts bikini it’s a free world but in reality I was miserable always trying to put on makeup, dress to keep up with fashion and be revealing my body to the public which only brought about negative attention.

    I feel liberated after wearing Hijab/Niqab. I don’t have to conform too pretence or show my body to everyone. I feel blessed that I am a Muslim and no one forces me to wear it I’m not married so my husband isn’t forcing me. My daughter if she would like to wear it then I would be very proud of her as she is doing an act of worship by wearing it, as obeying the command of Allah and being obedient to him is a part of being Muslim.

    Niqab is more than just a head covering. When a girl chooses to wear the Hijab/Niqab, she is choosing to represent Islam. To behave with dignity, treat others with respect, uphold the highest mannerisms, and be a positive influence within society. She is also asking others to treat her with respect, look past her appearance and value her inner characteristics. For members of Ofsted to claim ‘the hijab can be interrupted as the sexualisation of young girls’ is outrageous and a clear reflection of their ignorance. If Ofsted start singling out young Muslim girls, they are not only sending the message that these girls do not belong but are also teaching other students that it is ok to treat them differently and not accept them.

    We live in a multicultural society and have rights regardless of being from the ethnic minority especially Muslim for my girls it is their identity a fashion statement freedom of choice and never forced upon them. Everyone’s religious beliefs should be respected and valued I feel Ofsted are discriminating against a small minority of Muslims extremely bias will they ban the turban next and I hope this helps put a stop towards this ideology of discriminating against Muslims.

    • We should be able to differ between Burqa- Hijab with other teligious clothing.
      Nowadays non Muslim society are afraid of terrorist Muslim. Therefore let women not to wear Hijab and burqa in public. It is our responsibility to make people around us feel peace—

      All ❤

      • btw. let’s close the ‘hijab’ discussion for a while. All views have been presented.

  3. Even nuns have progressed out of their habits, which also had their origins in the Middle East, with most now wearing regular clothes, apart from Catholic nuns who still wear the traditional style. Muslims girls/women wear Arabic-style dress for various reasons, it’s even become a point of fashion for many, with the ladies often wearing heavy makeup, which makes them stand out. Nothing modest about that. As I’ve said many times, if they don’t want to fit into Western society, they should stay in Muslim countries where they would feel more at home. So far as Iran is concerned, many women (and men) there are trying to be rid of the terrible regime that is imposing such dress on them, and I wholeheartedly support them. That is not religion but authoritarian politics/dictatorship! The Chinese also imposed uniforms on their population for many decades, but fortunately they now wear normal, modern clothing, and keep traditional dress for special occasions/events, like some other countries. Likewise the mindsets of Muslims, especially that of men, need to change, and of course they are the big problem! There was even a time in the past when Spanish men locked their women into their homes when they went away on business, etc. Similarly in Europe in ancient times women had to wear chastity belts. The world is constantly changing, and we should be continuously progressing, but it seems that for some that is not the case, they want to remain in metaphorical caves.

    • strange that you are so against the beautiful hijab … Just walked around Amsterdam, plenty of hijab ladies from Morocco and Indonesia. Including mine. No hateful looks anywhere. Everyone happy with each other. – Some crazies crashing vans into people? Whether Muslim or ‘just a poor old mental patient’, they are just that: poor old mental cases.

    • anti-hijab lobbyists, such as Renate and Somi, really do the same thing that the Chinese used to do: wanting to impose your ideas to others.

  4. No Rafiq. It is the likes of you that want to impose your ideas to others, and converts are usually the least liberal. You won’t be happy until every village in Europe has a mosque and everyone walks about like Arabs. Sorry, I don’t want to see that. You have chosen a lifestyle that does not belong in Europe, we are people with a different culture which we would like to preserve, much the same as the Arabs and others. The influx of immigrants is causing many problems which you obviously don’t want to accept, but it’s a reality. It’s not even a question of religion or other cultures, but numbers. A few here and there may be a acceptable, but the whole matter has got out of hand. And I’m certainly no nationalist, just a realist considering the abnormal changes that are taking place in Europe, which are not in the interest of the indigenous people.

    • It is not correct to ‘assume’ that I am extreme just because I am a convert to Islam. Converts to Ahmadiyyat are usually not all that extreme. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion of ‘a mosque in every village’. Of course where-ever Muslims live there should be a Mosque. If Muslims live in every village than there should be a mosque in every village. Walk around like Arabs? Why? The whole world walks around the same these days. Torn Jeans is the norm. No, I prefer the ladies to wear colorful hijabs actually. – Strange Renate. while assuming. … I assume you married a Muslim, would your husband not like to have a Mosque within walking distance? Just wondering…

      • That is fine to build Mosque for Muslim— but we never see Ahmadiyyah build Facturies that create jobs for muslim and non Muslim.
        This is my suggestion. Am I wrong?

      • Ah we do … Did you not read the News that a Sugar Factory belonging to an Ahmadi in Pakistan was burned down. I am sure it was rebuilt in the meantime. And then we have SHEZAN juice etc. The best Mango Juice in the World no doubt.

        Yes, I agree with you this time: Mosques and Factories. In line with the prayer ‘Oh Allah, grant us the good in this world AND in the next world’. …

        And in other countries too many Ahmadi-Muslims are Employers and not only Employees. There are some with their own business in tiny Switzerland too.

  5. I love to hear that Rafiq— post it so people know that Ahmadiyyah not only build Mosque like Wahhabi Salafy but also Ahmadiyyah strive to create jobs every corner on earth.

    • Admittedly the Ismaili Community of the Aga Khan are more efficient in promoting business. We should learn something from them.

      • If Ahmadiyya really strive to prosperous ahmadiyyah create jobs, Ahmadiyyah do not need to ask money from member any more—I feel sorry to see the poor Ahmadiyyah in Pakistan, Indonesia etc they need not only faithfull preaching but they need to live in dignity and prosperity. Islam is a religion of prosperity, not poverty.

        If Muslim live in poverty, it means they implement the wrong teaching if Islam.

        So keep urging Ahmadiyyah youth to be employer not to be employee.

        All our love ❤️

  6. Rafiq. I married my moderate husband at a time when it was still possible to go to the mosque (covering the head when entering as a mark of respect ), meet the then lovely old Imam who also married us, as well as people such as Chaudry Zafrulla Khan who my husband knew well, wearing normal Western clothing without anyone insisting otherwise, as well as being able to speak to men outside the mosque. That is sadly not the case now. I was verbally attacked when I visited the London mosque some years ago by some ignorant woman who flew at me when we came out and she saw me speaking to some people known to me, saying “we are not allowed to speak with men”. How stupid when in normal life I speak with men all the time, having worked with them too. I am not a prisoner in my home.

    Ahmady women at that time were also not all wearing hijabs, though nowadays they all seem to, and the women on MTA hide their faces. I would prefer to see their lips moving.

    Yes, as Somi says, Ahmadies could pay more attention to developing rather than so much focus on clothing which makes them look alien. And that applies to men too. We see too many who look as though they belong to the villages of Afghanistan/Pakistan, and who are obviously not working, but living off the state, which does not go down well with the natives.

    Sorry, but outsiders should adjust to our way of life, not we to theirs. That is the norm world-wide.

    • Well, here I actually agree with Ms. Renate. To observe ‘super-purdah’ outside the Mosque, or let’s say 100 meters around it, when the same ladies go to work and have to work with men all the day. Are the Ahmadi-men ‘super-dangerous’ ? These ladies are ‘over-doing’ it, may be they have good intentions but are misguided. Their ‘over-doing’ actually harms the impression which we should create to attract more people to our mosques.

    • and … yes … the men should work and try their utmost NOT to live off the state!

    • During the Humanity First Conference a couple of years ago I noticed that the lady participants were hidden behind a screen. Communication was difficult. Who were these ladies? Professors, Doctors, School Principals from around the world. Of course they work with men all the time. Everyone can see them and speak to them – except the ‘dangerous’ Ahmadi Men? Logical? Not quite I think.

  7. People often cross the limits in their passion to support or to show displeasure about the rule. Their are rules set by Allah and there are rules set by humans. We can modify manmade rules and regulations but cant take off the restrictictions set by Allah. Modest dressing rules fall under Allah’s domain.
    Leaving modest dressing in the name of integration or assimilation is wrong. Assimilation in a society means to be a citizen putting in its share positively for its progress. Government on the otherhand is supposed to make laws for regulating the state so that every citizen finds peace. Interfering in religious affairs will create friction and will devoid society of peace.

  8. I dont endorse that small kids should observe hijab. Those who stress hijab for small girls is of course are inclined towards a sort of extremism.
    But again, state should not interfere in this matter. Dressing snd wearing is a personal choice and basic human right which should not be snatched away by government from any of its citizen.

  9. Dressingly modestly is a requirement laid down by Allah and not for only muslims, but even Christian and Jewish scriptures stress upon it.

  10. Please watch Malala Yiusafzai. She is a gift, a messenger of God, she is the bravest of girl on earth, she is the youngest one who received Nobel Prize for the education of girl, she has changed the world be better life for million girls. She has inspired the world’s leaders, she us wooow!
    I am so proud of her. May God bless her and her parents.

  11. Modest dressing is in favour of a woman and even for a girl, as it’s a commandment of Allah almighty.
    I don’t say that we should impose hijab to little girls as it’s not according to teaching of Islam, but if they wear time to time for making a habit With their parents help, why other people feel to interrupt in their personal matter????
    It’s a matter of their own peace of mind , security and religion too.

    • If girls do not start dressing modestly at a young age they will ‘miss’, the ‘right time’ to start wearing it.

  12. Peace—you can do what you want to do in your property— but you cannot do in public property—that is different.
    Can you see it?

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