Austria has approved a law aimed at banning the headscarf in primary schools. However, patka head covering worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish kippa would not be affected, says the government. The law was proposed by the ruling right-wing government.
Representatives of both parts of the governing coalition, the centre-right People's Party (OeVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), have said that the law is targeted at the Islamic headscarf.
FPOe education spokesman Wendelin Moelzer said the law was a signal against political Islam while OeVP MP Rudolf Taschner said the measure was necessary to free girls from subjugation.
Opposition MPs almost all voted against the measure, with some accusing the government of focusing on garnering positive headlines rather than child welfare.
The government has admitted that the law is likely to be challenged at Austria's constitutional court, either on grounds of religious discrimination or because similar legislation affecting schools is normally passed with a two-thirds majority of MPs. (AIR NEWS)