In response to Austria’s coalition government banning Islamic burqas and niqabs from being worn in schools and courtrooms, a Muslim lawmaker has suggested that the nation also ban Christian symbols from being displayed in classrooms.
A ban on feminine Muslim headwear for public-sector employees was also reportedly under consideration.
Of concern to parliament member Muna Duzdar, a member of the Socialist Party, was that the government’s ruling allegedly did not satisfy its stated policy of neutrality, i.e., the enforcement of evenhanded secularism in the public sphere.
“The principle of neutrality is not a headscarf ban,” she reportedly kvetched Wednesday, according to a report in Kronen Zeitung.
Austrian People’s Party secretary Harold Mahrer disagreed.
“We are 100 percent united in the federal government that Austria is a liberal constitutional state of the West and a Western-oriented democracy, and in the presence of the state authority the wearing of religious symbols can be against a certain principle of neutrality,” he reportedly said.
He added that maintaining neutrality centered on preventing the “wearing the symbols” and not on a prohibition of religious objects (such as crosses) on classroom walls.
As noted by Breitbart, the push to restrict Muslim headwear began last year courtesy of Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz but was only recently approved when the nation’s coalition government of Socialists and Austrian People’s Party lawmakers reached an agreement.
According to The U.K. Guardian, Duzdar was not the only Muslim angry about the coalition’s ruling.
The president of Austria’s Islamic Faith Community, Ibrahim Olgun, had reportedly also criticized the ban, claiming it would “pull the rug” from under efforts to establish a strong relationship between the nation’s government and its Muslim community.
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