Christoph Grabenwarter, head of Constitutional Court, says the 2019 ban targeting Muslim girls in primary schools violates equality, right to freedom of thought and religion.

Demonstrators covering their faces protest in Vienna against anti-Muslim discrimination in Austria on October 1, 2017.
Demonstrators covering their faces protest in Vienna against anti-Muslim discrimination in Austria on October 1, 2017. (Reuters)

A court in Austria has ruled that the ban on headscarves in primary schools is "unconstitutional" and annulled the decision taken by the far-right government in 2019.


Christoph Grabenwarter, the head of the Constitutional Court, said the ban violates equality, right to freedom of thought, worldview, and religion.


Grabenwarter said the law was targeting only Muslim students and caused discrimination in the education system.


The law risks limiting educational opportunities for Muslim female students and may cause them to be excluded from society, he added.

Sikhs, Jews exempted from ban

When the ban was ordered, the Austrian government said the patka head covering worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish yarmulke would not be affected. 

There were an estimated 700,000 Muslims living in Austria in 2017, or roughly 8 percent of the population, partly an outgrowth of the many Turks who came to Austria to work in the 1960s and 1970s and stayed on.

Lawmakers from Austria's two ruling parties — Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party approved a bill banning the headscarves in primary schools.

READ MORE: Austrian MPs approve headscarf ban in primary schools

Govt justifications 'not objective'


Grabenwarter said that banning only Muslim religious clothing in the education system would result in stigmatisation of the group in society.


He said the ban does not comply with the principle of impartiality of the constitution, adding that justifications given by the government that enacted the law "were not objective."


Grabenwarter stated that the implementation of the Constitutional Court's decision to annul the law is Austrian Chancellor Kurz's legal obligation, and ordered the Education Ministry to cover the court expenses of the family who took the matter to the court.

READ MORE: Activists show solidarity with Muslim girls after Austria hijab ban

Source: AA