On Wednesday, Austrian MPs approved a law aimed at banning the headscarf in primary schools, The Guardian reported.
The legislation was initially proposed by the country's ruling right-wing government and refers to "ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head."
Despite the law's description, "representatives of both parts of the governing coalition, the centre-right People's party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom party (FPÖ), have made it clear that despite its wide description, the law is targeted at the Islamic headscarf."
The move doesn't affect the patka head covering worn by Sikh boys nor the Jewish kippa. Medical bandages and garments used for protection from rain or snow are also not banned under the recently passed law.
In a statement on the law's passing, FPÖ's education spokesman, Wendelin Mölzer, said the legislation was "a signal against political Islam."
Commenting on the decision, ÖVP MP Rudolf Taschner said the measure "was necessary to free girls from subjugation."
Austria's official Muslim community organization, IGGÖ, condemned the law's passing, labelling it as "shameless" and a "direct assault on the religious freedom of Austrian Muslims."
The organization also said "it will seek to challenge the validity of the law at Austria's constitutional court."
The law will certainly face legal challenges
Austria's government expects the law to face legal challenges since it didn't pass with a two-thirds majority, something that's unusual for similar legislations.
In fact, almost all of the country's opposition MPs voted against the measure, "with some accusing the government of focusing on garnering positive headlines rather than child welfare."
Irmgard Griss, of the liberal Neos party, said "there was no evidence that girls found it more difficult to learn when wearing a headscarf."
The ruling ÖVP and FPÖ parties formed a coalition in late 2017 after elections, in which they both "took a tough anti-immigration stance and warned of the dangers of 'parallel societies'."
In April 2018, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz hinted at a possible hijab ban in schools, saying "covering up small children is definitely not something for which there should be space in our country."
Some tried to defend the ban
While others criticized it
Many had an issue with the hypocritical aspect of the law
In 2017, Austria banned the burqa despite it being worn by only 150 women
In 2017, the country followed in the footsteps of France, Belgium, and several other European countries by enforcing a burqa ban, prohibiting Muslim women from wearing the outer garment used to cover themselves.
However, the difference when it came to Austria's application of the law was that it only affected 150 women in the country.
According to QZ, that's 0.03 percent of the overall Muslim population in Austria and only 0.002 percent of the entire population of the country.
The law subjects Muslim women to a $177-fine for violations. It doesn't only ban the Islamic face veil but all face coverings, with a few exceptions.
At the time the decision was announced by the country's government, Austria's president opposed it, saying "it is every woman's right to always dress how she wants."