Antwerp public schools ban headscarf
Students in the public schools of Antwerp will no longer be allowed to wear the veil.Other religious symbols are also going to be banned from the first of September.
Political and religious symbols will be banned in the public schools of Antwerp from the next school term. According to the school principals religious symbols clash with the principles of equality and the freedom of choice for students.
"We have noticed that certain students have started feeling less comfortable over the past few years," says school principal Karin Heremans. "We have the impression that some students are under social pressure to conform and wear religious symbols."
The decision to ban religious symbols from the public schools has drawn criticism from the immigrant community. The public schools have many students of different ethnic backgrounds. "This is an emotional decision but the students are at the centre of the discussion. It is a decision that is in the interest of the students."
Some schools already had a ban on wearing religious symbols.
Currently, in Antwerp there is no general guideline regarding the ban of religious symbols in schools. The schools may decide autonomously what they deem best. In some of the city schools there is already a ban on wearing veils or any other type of religious symbol.
Christian democrat Mahinur Özdemir is the first MP to wear a veil while taking the oath.
Mahinur Özdemir of the Francophone Christian democrat party CDH was sworn in as MP in the Brussels Parliament.