“Not a priority issue”

Headscarves at school © Frank Rumpenhorst

Small turnaround: Currently, there will be no specific headscarf ban for North Rhine-Westphalian elementary school. Corresponding changes to the school law are not currently planned, explained NRW School Minister Yvonne Gebauer.

The FDP politician made her comments on Wednesday in the school committee of the Dusseldorf state parliament. Her ministry is currently focusing on expanding Islamic religious instruction. Muslim students should be taught the basics "for a self-determined practice of their religion". The lessons are taught by state-trained teachers from the state and are based on state curricula.

"Not a priority ie"

In talks with the Islamic associations, a possible headscarf ban for children has so far "not been a priority topic," Gebauer reported. The ministry ames that students decide "on their own responsibility and self-determination" about their religious practice. This also includes a "reflective attitude" about wearing a headscarf.

At the same time, the minister confirmed that the NRW state government was currently examining a "fundamental" ban on headscarves for children in public institutions. The review process of the Integration Ministry responsible for this is not yet complete, she said.

This is currently examining whether the planned headscarf ban for children in daycare centers and schools can avert a threat to the welfare of children. The main question is whether girls wearing headscarves have the same development opportunities as their peers without headscarves, as Integration Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) emphasized a few days ago. The basis for this is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Amendment of the school law not planned

The SPD opposition said that after the current statements of the Minister of Education, the ie of banning headscarves in elementary schools is over.

A change of the school law is not planned. The state government has so far had no evidence at all that girls wearing headscarves in grades one to four pose a threat to school peace, explained SPD school expert Jochen Ott.

Serap Guler (CDU), North Rhine-Westphalia's state secretary for integration, was particularly active in advocating a headscarf ban for girls under 14 years of age. The Muslim woman thus turned against a sexualization of children. He said there could be no feminine charms that a girl had to cover up in kindergarten or elementary school.

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Christina Cherry
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