Swedish municipal preschools in so-called “vulnerable areas” may force children to wear Islamic veils if their parents demand it while neighbouring Norway has banned the full-face veil from classrooms.
Swedish Education Minister Gustav Fridolin has expressed outrage at the review of the preschools, carried out by newspaper Göteborgs Posten, saying, “there is still some uncertainty about these issues”, calling the report “worrying”.
According to the newspaper’s review of the schools in the heavily migrant-populated areas, many were willing to bow to religious pressure from parents to the point where one school agreed to let a young girl use facetime during class so she could prove to her parents that she was still wearing her Islamic veil.
“Several of the examples in your review are clear crimes against the school’s value base. You should never end up in a situation where the school compromises children’s rights,” Fridolin told the paper.
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“Clothing is an individual expression and the school can not exert such control over either young or older students. It is not the task of the school, and everyone who works at school should know that,” he added.
The sentiment was shared by the anti-Islamisation Sweden Democrats who took to Twitter to post about the school review writing: “Not in our Sweden.”
In neighbouring Norway, the government has taken an active stance against the full-face Islamic veil and announced a ban on the garment inside classrooms. The centre-right Progress Party have expressed a desire to go even further and ban the burqa and niqab from the public space altogether.
Last week another Scandinavian country, Denmark, banned the full-face veil entirely, joining several other countries across Europe such as Austria, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and others who have banned the garment in recent years.