Austrian lawmaker wears headscarf in protest at hijab ban (+Video)

An Austrian lawmaker has worn a headscarf during her address against a controversial bill that prohibits primary school girls across the country from wearing hijab — Muslim women’s modest clothing.


AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): An Austrian lawmaker has worn a headscarf during her address against a controversial bill that prohibits primary school girls across the country from wearing hijab — Muslim women’s modest clothing.

Martha Bissmann, an independent MP, covered her hair during a general assembly speech on Friday to protest the measure, saying, "Let's not allow a wedge to be driven between us."

The ban was approved after lawmakers from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's ruling conservative People's Party (ÖVP) and the anti-migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) -- who have formed a majority government together -- voted in its favor. Under the new legislation, it would be illegal for Muslim girls under the age of 10 to wear hijab at all primary schools, including private schools.

Almost all opposition lawmakers voted against the measure condemning it as “discriminatory.”

Bissmann accused the FPÖ of promoting “racism and Islamophobia” in the country over the last decade. She said that those who introduced the ban wanted to eliminate "high values such as tolerance and freedom of religion."

“This is the first step to ban headscarves in everyday life,” she added.

Austria's official Muslim community organization (IGGOe) also condemned the move as "shameless" and a "diversionary tactic."

A large number of non-governmental organizations, journalists and activists also expressed their opposition to the ban.

The country is home to around 700,000 Muslims.

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