Berlin Schools: Debate on headscarves rekindled by ban in Austria

Austria has prohibited elementary school students from wearing headscarves. Now in this country is debated about it – especially in Berlin.


In the courtyard of the elementary school in the Kllnische Heide it is noticeable that quite a few young female students already wear the headscarf. Many families of Arab families live here in the Neuklln Highdeck settlement. “Unfortunately, more and more students wear headscarves, and increasingly these black headscarves, which are considered strictly Islamic,” said Headmistress Astrid-Sabine Busse, who is also chairwoman of the Berlin School Board. the Berliner Zeitung.

The decision on headscarves at primary schools rekindles debate – also in Berlin

The law in Austria, which prohibits elementary school students from wearing headscarves, nevertheless regards them as skeptical. “I’m against snapshots, such a project would have to be prepared and planned intensively,” Busse said. Liberal Islamic scholars, parent associations and many other groups would also have to be involved. “In principle I do not like to see young elementary schoolchildren wearing the headscarf,” the Headmistress explained. “Because I know that this is not her personal will, but is determined by parents and family.” As an experienced headmistress, she also raises the question of how such a ban could be implemented on the ground at all. “I can not well introduce a kind of headscarf sharia, which takes away the cloth from the girls.” The dignity of the girls must always be the focus.

The parliamentary decision on Wednesday in Vienna rekindled the debate that has repeatedly led in Germany over the past few years. “The fact that little girls wear headscarves is absurd – that’s what most Muslims think so too,” said the Federal Government’s integration commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), Bild-Zeitung. “All measures that protect girls from – from parent talk to prohibition – should be examined and addressed.”

Politics debates on headscarf ban in schools

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Minister of the Interior Lorenz Caffier (CDU) commented similarly. “This is an issue that moves the population,” he told the Berliner Zeitung (editorial network Germany). “And we are well advised to include such topics.” He did not form a final verdict, Caffier added. “But I think, especially in elementary schools, there is much to suggest that you can go that way.”

Leni Breymaier, family politician in the SPD parliamentary group, is also in favor of this and called this “a matter of equality” – unlike her union colleague Marcus Weinberg, who referred to “the law enshrined in the Basic Law,” to exercise his religion freely “. North Rhine-Westphalia’s state government is currently evaluating a report on the developmental and theological aspects.

Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) rejects a ban. “There are various forms of headgear that are sometimes religious, sometimes culturally motivated, and sometimes simply follow considerations of utility,” he said. “To ban a particular element of clothing by the state would be understood by the Muslims only as anti-Muslim.”

Berlin GEW boss Tom Erdmann considers a ban on headscarves to be disproportionate

The head of the primary school association, Maresi Lassek, said headscarves at elementary schools are rare. But they are more common in big cities. “Sometimes elementary schools have a hard time making sure that a child wearing a headscarf does not ‘infect’ the others.” Muslim girls should not wear headscarves until they reach puberty and have their first menstruation Lassek away – so after elementary school. But some parents it was important to get their daughters as early as possible to get used to the headscarf, to avoid later disputes.

“A general ban on headscarves at primary schools I consider inappropriate and not enforceable,” said Lassek nonetheless. “Children would be pushed into a special role that we do not want.” She recommends a conversation with parents and children.

GEW head Tom Erdmann from Berlin acknowledges that the education union has once and for all discussed a complete ban on veiling at schools. A headscarf ban for elementary school students, Erdmann but considers disproportionate. “A seven-year-old girl should not be sanctioned for something that the parents have to answer for.” Maja Lasic, SPD education politician in the House of Representatives, stressed that a debate on the Austrian initiative in this country would stir up resentment on both sides. The problem exists, however. “A solution must always put the child at the center,” Lasic said.

Parents in Austria are threatened with violations of the law

The decision in Austria was made with the votes of the conservative VP and the right-wing FP. Excluded from the headscarf ban at elementary schools there are associations for medical reasons or headgear as protection against rain or snow. The Jewish kippah remains legal, since the prohibition refers to garments “that cover all the hair of the head or much of it”.

The justification given in the text of the law is that a ban “serves the social integration of children according to local customs and customs, the preservation of fundamental constitutional values and the equality of men and women”. If children do not comply with the ban, parents face a fine of up to 440 euros or a substitute imprisonment of two weeks. (with Markus Decker / RND)