Sweden's schoolchildren allowed to wear headscarves
The National Agency for Education in Sweden has declared a general ban on wearing headscarves at schools to be incompatible with religious freedom and freedom of expression and therefore unconstitutional. The decision renders a headscarf ban issued by the southern Swedish municipality of Skurup at the end of last year invalid. Sweden's commentators applaud the move.
Freedom is not protected with bans
Skurup's single-handed initiative has turned out to be a mistake, Sydsvenskan concludes:
“When people find that their rights are being curtailed, they put up resistance. ... When Skurup decided to ban headscarves in December this didn't prompt the few girls who wore them to take them off. Instead more girls started to wear them. ... If we want to combat the oppression of women who are forced to wear a particular garment, it's not a good idea to ban them from wearing it. Women and girls should be free to decide whether or not they wear a headscarf. That's precisely the point.”
Don't drag children into the Islam debate
Göteborgs-Posten also agrees with the decision:
“The proponents of a ban see the headscarf as a symbol of oppression. In their opinion, the state must actively counteract conservative Muslim values. ... But many young people wear the headscarf voluntarily and see it above all as a cultural symbol. Nor is it clear that such a ban would do much to counter honour crimes, which are often the result of clan thinking rather than religion. ... Basically the question is more about what role Islam plays in Sweden. This discussion is important, particularly as many people only know very little about this religion. But don't exploit children for a debate that is ultimately about something entirely different.”