Danish government rejects plan to forbid hijab in schools

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish government rejects plan to forbid hijab in schools
The Minister for Immigration and Integration said that Danish law prevents a ban on hijabs in schools being implemented. Photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

The government will not back a motion from the Danish People's Party (DF) to ban pupils and staff from wearing hijabs in elementary schools, according to the Minister for Immigration and Integration.


The government on Tuesday hit back a proposal from the far-right Danish People’s Party for the parliament to debate a ban on Islamic headscarves in schools.

In a written comment, immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek said that while Denmark faces “serious challenges with negative social control and oppression of young girls in certain environments”, such a ban would contravene Danish law.


“It is the legal assessment that the proposal to ban Islamic headscarves in primary schools cannot be implemented within the framework of the Constitution and Denmark’s international obligations,” he wrote.

“Therefore, the government cannot support the proposal. But we will nevertheless continue to fight honour-related coercion and oppression and negative social control," the minister also stated.

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.

The decision now puts into question the government's position on recommendations from a commission appointed by the previous government, made in August 2022.

The “Commission for the Forgotten Women’s Struggle” as it was named, made 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 had nine different recommendations related to minority ethnic girls in Denmark, including a proposed school ban on hijabs. The commission said it would favour a general ban on the use of religious symbols at schools in Denmark if this was necessary to secure a ban on the hijab.

READ ALSO: Majority of Danes reject ban on hijab at schools in new poll

Other recommendations included groups at preschools that “reflect the population” and courses on Danish ways of raising children for “selected minority ethnic parents”.

The government is not obliged to table a bill based on the commission’s recommendations.

Two out of the ten members of the commission reversed their support for the school hijab ban last August.

Dybvad Bek said at the time that the Ministry of Justice needed to look at the legal framework of the proposal. Newspaper Berlingske reported that he said, "if a simple model can be made that doesn't cause other problems, I think it's a super good idea."

The Liberal party (Venstre) did not reject the proposal in August but Moderates leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen told newspaper Politiken at the time that "it is not Denmark" to legislate on either headwear or religious symbols in general. 

Experts noted that enforcing such a ban might prove difficult legally because the Danish constitution and human rights laws guarantee freedom of religion.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also