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Germany

Lower Saxony Bans Headscarves in Schools

Lower Saxony has become the second German state to pass a law forbidding teachers from wearing headscarves in publicly-run schools. A majority of parliamentarians from the ruling Christian Democrat and Free Democrat coalition as well as the opposition Social Democrats approved the amendment to legislation on state schools. Earlier this month, Baden-Württemberg became the first German state to pass such a law. Lower Saxony's education minister, Bernd Busemann, said that teachers who wear headscarves will be asked on a case by case basis to explain why they want to wear them in school, but he made it clear that these personal interviews would result in a ban. "In every case where an applicant says she wants to wear a headscarf, the rule will be that we have to reject her application." According to Busemann, the headscarf is a political symbol of fundamentalist Islam and the suppression of women. Four more German states are also considering draft legislation to ban teachers from wearing headscarves in public schools.