Austria approves headscarf ban in primary schools

16 May 2019, 10:08 | Updated: 16 May 2019, 11:45

MPs in Austria have approved plans to ban girls in primary schools from wearing headscarves.

Politicians from the coalition government - made up of the conservative People's Party and the anti-immigration Freedom Party - reportedly backed the law as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.

The ban is likely to face challenges at Austria's constitutional court.

To avoid appearing to target Muslims, the measure bans wearing "ideologically or religiously characterised clothing" that covers the head.

It specifies items "that cover the whole or large parts of the hair".

The Austria Press Agency (APA) reported that the Jewish Kippa and the Sikh Patka are not included in the ban.

Former minister of education Sonja Hammerschmid said the ban as an individual measure would not be effective because after school the girls would put the headscarf on again.

In October 2017, the Austrian government threatened Muslim women with fines for wearing full face veils before launching the legislation of prohibiting burqas in public places.

Other European countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands have been issuing fines in the past years for women wearing the burqa.