European countries consider differing bans on the headscarf

The headscarf in Europe
The headscarf in Europe
By Michael Daventry

Politicians in Austria and Germany are the latest to make proposals for schools

It is not just in Austria where young girls could soon be banned from wearing headscarves in classrooms.

The leader of Germany's liberal Free Democratic Party, the FDP, has also proposed a ban in the North Rhine-Westphalia region - and nationwide.

A tweet quoting party leader Christian Lindner said "A ban on girls under the age of 14 is proportionate and strengthens personal development."

While the FDP wants to bring a debate on the issue to Germany's parliament, Austria's new coalition government has proposed a ban on headscarves for girls aged under 10 in schools.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his goal was to confront any development of what he termed "parallel societies" in Austria.

European countries have different policies on the headscarf. While Austria's ban could come in next year, in Germany and Switzerland they already apply to some female teachers, but not to schoolgirls.

Meanwhile in France, children are not allowed to wear headscarves, kippas or larger crosses in the classroom. Only small religious signs are allowed.

But Italy, Belgium and Switzerland allow individual schools to decide.

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