Austria is to ban girls under the age of 14 from wearing Islamic headscarves to school.
The Austrian parliament on Wednesday approved a new law that prohibits any “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head” in the nation’s primary schools.
The measure, which was put forward by chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s right-wing coalition government, was condemned as discriminatory by the opposition and is expected to be challenged in Austria’s constitutional court.
Both government parties openly admitted that the measure is specifically targetted at Muslim girls.
Mr Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) portrayed it as a measure against gender discrimnation. Rudolf Taschner, an ÖVP MP, said it was intended to “free girls from submission”.
But Mr Kurz’s coalition partners in the far-Right Freedom Party (FPÖ) were more confrontational. Wendelin Mölzer, the party’s education spokesman, said it was intended as a signal “against political Islam”.