Muslim women Austria can keep teaching with a headscarf


Central Europe


Susanne Raab. Photo AFP, Joe Klamar

For the Women’s and Integration Minister Susanne Raab, a headscarf ban for female teachers is “no longer an issue.”, after the Constitutional Court called this ban illegal.

She said so in an interview with Austrian magazine Profil.

According to the Christian-democratic Raab, the idea will be dropped because the Constitutional Court declared in december the headscarf ban for schoolgirls to be illegal. The Constitutional Court had objected that the ban was only based on Islam and not on all religious clothing. However, Raab refrains from a religion-neutral design. “It was never about driving religions out of schools; it was about empowering girls and breaking down patriarchal structures.”

She cannot estimate how many teachers actually wear headscarves. “School should be a sensitive and protected space where girls can develop freely, independent of cultural constraints.”

Side letter

Last week, a side letter signed outside the coalition agreement from 2019 became public. In it, the Green Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler agreed, among other things, to a planned but constitutionally sensitive headscarf ban for female teachers, which was to be implemented by decree from the Minister of Education. In return, the Greens traded a powerful governmental position to the ORF of the then Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. This writes the news website Kurier.

Raab claims not to have known the side letter at all. At the time, she did not call for a headscarf ban for teachers based on the side letter, but out of “very own drive”.



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