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President of Austria says all women in that country may be forced to wear a Muslim hijab


President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen Credit: Die Grunen

Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria, says all women in that country may be required to wear a Hijab or head scarf. Credit: Die Grunen Linz/Flickr/Creative Commons

The British newspaper, The Independent, is reporting on the bizarre statements Austria’s left-leaning president, Alexander Van der Bellen, made to students in March. He told the group that at some point all women in Austria may be required to wear a hijab to fight Islamaphobia in that country.

The hijab or scarf is a head covering worn by many Muslim women for religious reasons and differs from a burqa that covers the face.

Van der Bellen was responding to a young woman’s question who was opposed to recent moves by Austria and other European governments, such as Germany and Holland, that are passing legislation that would limit the wearing of a burqa, and in some instance a hijab, in public.

The school girl stated that removing the scarf or burqa would result in women relying on their appearance when making their way in society instead of their accomplishments.

In his response that was videoed back in March, but just recently broadcast on Austrian TV, Van der Bellen said that it was every woman’s right to wear what she wanted, but then he added:

“And it is not only Muslim women, all women can wear a headscarf, and if this real and rampant Islamaphobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf — all — out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”

A former University professor, Van der Bellen who once led Austria’s Green Party was sworn in as president in January after narrowly winning the December presidential election. He opposes national borders and wants Europe to be a single country.

The legislation being passed by the Austrian government would not only ban wearing a burqa in public areas such as courts and schools, but also includes a partial ban on a headscarf for women in positions of authority to avoid any appearance of partiality, such as judges or police officers.

The good news is Austria’s president is largely a ceremonial position, the bad news is this is obviously what politicians actually believe.

Egypt has already instituted a ban on women wearing a full burqa in public.

 

Sources:

 

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