Danish schools hijab ban advice reversed by commission members

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish schools hijab ban advice reversed by commission members
Illustration photo of a young woman wearing a hijab. Two Danish commission members say they have changed their minds over an earlier recommendation to ban the garment in primary schools. Photo by Erge Mahindra on Unsplash

Two members of the Danish government’s so-called “Commission for the Forgotten Women’s Struggle” have reversed course on the group’s recent recommendation to ban the hijab in primary schools.


The commission last week recommended a ban on young girls wearing the hijab or Muslim head scarf at schools. The recommendation received negative press coverage and feedback from educators.

In its report, the commission argued that wearing the hijab marks out Danish Muslim girls as being different from other Danish girls.

A hijab is a head scarf worn by some Muslim and women girls, covering the hair but not the face. It is distinct from the niqab, which covers the face apart from the eyes, and the burka, which covers the entire face with a mesh enabling the wearer to see.

READ ALSO: Danish commission says government should ban hijab at schools


“We all become wiser in this debate, including those of us who sit on the commission,” one member of the commission, former headteacher Lise Egholm, told broadcaster DR.

Egholm said she now believes that the oldest primary school students should be exempted from a potential ban since some Muslim girls begin wearing a headscarf after they start their first period. 

She also said discussion of the issue had turned into a “media storm”.

The commission, appointed by the government earlier this year, has 10 members. The members stated they were all in agreement when they last week made a total of nine different recommendations related to minority ethnic girls in Denmark.

But another member, Kefa Abu Ras, co-founder of organisation Sisters Against Violence and Control (Søstre mod vold og control), wrote last weekend on Facebook that she no longer supports the measure, DR reports.

Instead, she said, the hijab should just be discouraged in primary schools, rather than forbidden.

Egholm on Monday became the second commission member to change her stance. She also called for the commission to meet to discuss the matter.

The overall purpose of the commission is to make recommendations on “how we in Denmark can ensure that women with minority backgrounds can enjoy the same rights and freedoms as other Danish women”.

It is set to make additional recommendations relating to young adults and adults in the coming months. The government is not obliged to table a bill based on the commission's recommendations.


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