Austria’s new coalition government has proposed a ban on headscarves for girls aged under 10 in schools.

The “child protection law” will be drawn up later this year, according to the education minister, and will be a “symbolic act” in protecting Austrian culture from some Islamic influences.

Austria’s main Muslim group called the plan “absolutely counterproductive”. It asserts that very few girls in kindergartens and primary schools in Austria wear a headscarf.

It is not clear how many children might be affected, particularly as many Muslims believe their religion expects a girl to start wearing a headscarf from puberty.

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