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Germany

Bavaria Bans Headscarves for Teachers

The southern German state of Bavaria on Thursday banned women state school teachers from wearing Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in schools. The ruling conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) said the ban, which has already been introduced in four of Germany's 16 federal states, was designed to protect pupils from the influence of Islamic fundamentalism. "The veil is widely abused by Islamic fundamentalist groups as a political symbol," said Bavaria's culture minister, Monika Hohlmeier. The Social Democratic Party and Greens, who rule in a coalition on a national level, voted against the ban in the regional parliament and said it was questionable from a legal point of view. Headscarf bans for teachers have already been introduced in the states of Hesse, Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg and Saarland. In Hesse the ban applies to all civil servants. However, the bans stop short of banning school pupils from wearing Islamic headscarves. (AFP)