Austrians appreciate the dry humor and the offhand ironical remarks of the Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. His statement that all women should wear a headscarf out of solidarity with Muslim women to restrict the swelling Islamophobia found negative repercussions both nationally and internationally. Van der Bellen regrets that he has been misinterpreted and that his statement is to be understood as a resistance to the discrimination against minorities like the headscarfed women. Van der Bellen should encourage the self-conscious women to put down their headscarf for a limited time to protest against the oppression of the Muslim women primarily in Islamic countries. Muslim women should demand among others the removal of inhuman practices such as child-, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation; equality for women at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life, as well as access to property, control over land, financial services and inheritances. Van der Bellen would not only strengthen his reputation as a wise statesman, but he would promote the United Nations – 2030 Agenda of the 17 Sustainable Goals. When is he ready?
Roland Leithenmayr, VfV, 4. April 2017