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Germany

Bill Proposes Banning Headscarves in Schools

Baden Württemberg's state government has formulated a bill to bar Muslim teachers from wearing headscarves, but will allow the Jewish Kippa and Christian crucifix in the classroom. State Education Minister Annette Schavan said that teachers in state-funded schools would be prohibited from wearing symbols that could be considered political statements if the bill passed. A headscarf is "clearly" such a symbol she said, which "is also seen as a symbol of cultural separation and part of the history of the repression of women." Neither Christian nor Jewish symbols will be affected by the ban. The bill is the first of the sort since Germany's highest court upheld a Baden Württemberg teacher's right to wear a headscarf in September but left it to individual states to formulate specific legislation to ban the practice. The bill is expected to be sent to the state parliament for approval in early 2004.

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