The President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, is taking a peculiar stance against the “rampant” sweep of Islamophobia that has befallen our society.
“It is every woman’s right to always dress how she wants, that is my opinion on the matter,” The Independent quotes the leader of the left-winged Green party, “And it is not only Muslim women, all women can wear a headscarf, and if this real and rampant Islamophobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”
Van der Bellen’s quotes are taken from a talk with a group of students, who had asked his opinion on the Austrian burqa ban earlier this year.
Van der Bellen’s comments struck some nerves, with news outlets and social media users expressing their outrage alike.
@vanderbellen are you insane??? 'forcing' women to wear a scarf? thank GOD i live in the usa, we still have 'some' freedoms here…
— don banzai (@shogunshin) April 28, 2017
Austrian President says all women should wear headscarves "to fight Islamophobia"
Well done ladies, kudos to you pic.twitter.com/HNAWHS69dG
— Nick (@Nick_1683) April 27, 2017
Politicians of Austria have openly spoken against the approval of headscarves.
In a discussion last month, government officials rejected and “criticized a recommendation by the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGO) that Muslim women start wearing a head scarf from the onset of puberty, with the country’s secretary of state, Muna Duzdar, saying she ‘deeply’ rejects headscarves,” reports RT.
Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Integration was quoted saying,
“As an integration minister, I have to say clearly: we reject an obligation to [wear] the headscarf. I urge the IGGO to say whether the recommendation will remain on their website.”
The subject of Islamic and religious clothing has been a rising issue in Europe for a while. Austria is not the only country to pass along such a ban.
Countries like France, Germany and Belgium have also passed a full or partial burqa ban, citing their limited tolerance of other cultures as the core reason.