Austrian government seeks headscarf ban in elementary school

Austria's new government is seeking to ban girls in elementary schools and kindergartens from wearing headscarves, adding to existing restrictions on veils.

The Austria Press Agency reported Wednesday that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz' center-right coalition hopes to draw up its "child protection law" by summer. Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache said that "we don't want parallel societies."

It wasn't clear how many children might be affected. Education Minister Heinz Fassmann called it "a symbolic act," signaling that Austria is a secular country.

Both Kurz' conservatives and Strache's right-wing Freedom Party, his new governing partner, have talked of a need to crack down on radical Islam.

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