German teachers group backs headscarf ban for young girls

Germany’s Teachers’ Association on Monday supported a government proposal to ban girls under the age of 14 from wearing headscarves in class.

A German teacher's group on Monday backed a proposal to ban headscarves for young female students in class. File photo by Stephanie Pilick/EPE-EFE
A German teacher’s group on Monday backed a proposal to ban headscarves for young female students in class. File photo by Stephanie Pilick/EPE-EFE

“A headscarf ban would help, at least generally speaking, to undermine discrimination on religious grounds and anti-religious bullying,” the association’s president, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, said, adding that he was calling for an end to the “deliberate display of religious symbols among children with religious backgrounds.”
Germany’s liberal Free Democratic Party leader Christian Linder said in a tweet “a ban on girls under the age of 14 is proportionate and strengthens personal development.”

The FDP hopes to bring the headscarf debate to parliament, with the goal of the ban being to confront the development of “parallel societies” in Germany.

Susanne Lin-Klitzing, the head of the German Philological Association, said wearing a headscarf may make one sex feel subordinate to the other.

“A headscarf can be seen as a symbol of that, and so there’s no place for it in the classroom,” Lin-Klitzing said.

Germany’s Islamic Council has taken issue with the proposed ban, calling the debate “populist, highly symbolic and devoid of substance.”

If the debate moves forward, Germany will follow in the footsteps of Austria, which announced plans this month to ban headscarves in public schools for girls under the age of 10.

In March 2017, a ruling by the European Court of Justice on allowed for employers to ban the hijab, or Muslim headscarf, in the workplace.

By Sara Shayanian