German state bans hijab from schools

The southern German state of Bavaria has banned women state school teachers from wearing Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in schools.

    A German teacher was recently banned from wearing the hijab

    The ruling conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) said on Thursday that

    the

    ban, which has already been introduced in four of Germany's 16

    federal states, was designed to protect pupils from the influence of "

    Islamic fundamentalism".

    "The veil is widely abused by Islamic fundamentalist groups as a

    political symbol," said Bavaria's culture minister Monika

    Hohlmeier.

    The Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Greens, who rule in a

    coalition on a national level, voted against the ban in the regional

    parliament and said it was questionable from a legal point of view.

    Headscarf bans for teachers have already been introduced in the

    states of Hesse, Lower Saxony, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Saarland. In

    Hesse the ban applies to all civil servants.

    'Discrimination'

    However, the bans stop short of banning school pupils from

    wearing Islamic headscarves.

    Germany is home to more than three million Muslims.

    Muslims say hijab is a religious
    obligation, not a matter of choice

    Islamic groups say the headscarf is a religious obligation and not a political statement.

    France introduced a ban on state school pupils and teachers

    wearing headscarves earlier this year, sparking fierce criticism from some

    Muslim groups that it represents a form of discrimination against

    Islam.

    At least six schoolgirls have been expelled from classes in

    France for wearing a headscarf since the new law was introduced.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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