Austrian lawmakers approve elementary school headscarf ban

BERLIN (AP) — Austrian lawmakers have approved plans to ban girls in elementary schools from wearing headscarves, a move that would add to existing restrictions on veils.

The Austria Press Agency reported that lawmakers from the governing coalition of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservative People's Party and the anti-migration Freedom Party supported the measure late Wednesday.

Kurz's party conceded that the new headscarf ban is likely to face challenges at Austria's Constitutional Court.

The measure bans wearing "ideologically or religiously characterized clothing" that covers the head, and specifies that it refers to items "that cover the whole or large parts of the hair."

Austria's previous government prohibited full-face veils in courts, schools and other "public places" and banned police officers, judges, magistrates and public prosecutors from wearing headscarves.