Hijab ban now effective
The European Court of Justice has ruled that employers will be able to ban employees from wearing headscarves.
The EU court has ruled that employers have the right to prevent staff from wearing headscarves. The ruling also prohibits the wearing of other religious symbols such as turbans and crosses.
The court said that companies could ban ‘the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign’.
The judgement was sparked by two cases of workplace dismissal. Two women – one from France and one from Belgium – were dismissed from work after refusing to remove their headscarves.
Muslims believe that the ban directly targets Muslim women who wear headscarves – hijabs – at work. Many believe that the banning of other religious and political symbols is a ‘veiled’ measure.
The court has argued that the measure is not “direct discrimination” against Muslim women. The policy must be in place before companies can exercise it – without discriminating against any religious symbol.
The EU says companies have a ‘legitimate’ right to maintain a neutral image. In response, the ruling has been met with outrage. Muslim groups believe that the ruling only legitimises discrimination.
The banning of religious symbols will mainly affect Muslim women. Warda el-Kaddouri, said that the ban implies that women’s “control” of their bodies was “reserved for white women only”.
Some believe that the EU court have chosen not to prevent discrimination and protect rights. Muslim women already face discrimination, the decision will affect whether they secure jobs.
Religious leaders believe that the verdict could spark hate crimes and fuel bigotry. The ruling sends the message that “faith communities are no longer welcome”. This message comes with a rise in religious hate crimes.
Europe’s right-wing groups – many of them anti-Muslim nationalists – are welcoming the decision.