Deputies from the ruling Christian Democrats and Free Democrats in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia agreed unanimously on Tuesday to put the measure to a vote in the state legislature in November.

 

"With the ban, we will send a message to affirm our system of values against Islamic fundamentalism," the head of the Free Democrats' parliamentary group, Gerhard Papke, said.

 

The regional education ministry said there were 20 Muslim teachers known to wear headscarves (hijab) at public schools in the state.

 

Headscarf bans for teachers have already been introduced in the German states of Hesse, Lower Saxony, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and Saarland. In Hesse the ban applies to all civil servants.

 

However, the rules stop short of banning school pupils from wearing Islamic headscarves.

 

Germany is home to more than three million Muslims.