Muslim support for headscarf ban

Birol Kilic, chairman of the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria and practising Muslim, explains why he considers the headscarf ban in schools to be necessary for the separation of religion and state.

Roxane Seckauer
Roxane Seckauer Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Muslim support for headscarf ban - NewsMavens
Children, Shazron, Flickr Commons

Why this story matters:

The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria (TKG) is in favor of banning all religious signs from public spaces. They want a secular Austria -- and this means a headscarf ban for schoolchildren. They recommend forbidding girls younger than 14 to wear the garment in schools.

Kilic's main argument is that the headscarf creates a visible rift between those who wear it and those who don't, automatically leading to discrimination. In his opinion, headscarves are also divisive within the Muslim community, because Muslims who choose not to wear headscarves may be told they are "not good Muslims".

The TKG chairman believes the headscarf puts the emphasis on symbols rather than values:

"In Islam, morality, reason, and ethics are much more important than outward signs."

Details from the story:

  • About 300,000 Turks live in Austria. 200,000 have Austrian citizenship.
  • The Turkish Cultural Community in Austria (TKG) describes itself as a "pluralistic, liberal, democratic association that upholds the principles of the constitution".
  • Birol Kilic grew up in a Turkey that was still strictly secular. He was born in Istanbul, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived alongside one another. He moved to Germany at the age of six and later studied in Vienna, among others.
  • He would like to counteract the politicization of religious belief, which he perceives both in Turkey and Austria.
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