european court’s hijab verdict an attack on women
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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European court’s hijab verdict an attack on women

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Arab Today, arab today European court’s hijab verdict an attack on women

European court’s hijab verdict an attack on women
Abu Dhabi - Arab Today

A local newspaper today reacted to the European Court of Justice's, ECJ, ruling that companies can ban employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf as part of prohibitions including other religious and political symbols, saying that, "Willingly or not, Europe’s top court has just opened the door to official, legal discrimination against Muslim citizens."

The editorial, which was published by The National, said that although the ECJ ruled that companies could ban staff from wearing the hijab and all other visible religious symbols, and not just Muslim ones, it still "disguises the context that this ruling came about because of two cases that involved Muslim women being fired for wearing headscarves. And it comes at a time when Islamophobia is rising across the West and becoming part of mainstream political discourse."

The editorial said, "There are two problems with the ruling. It both discriminates against religious groups and will make it easier to discriminate against Muslims and other groups in the future.

"The ruling discriminates not only against Muslims but against many other minorities too. Sikhs and Jews also wear visible religious symbols and both will be affected. Christians who choose to wear crosses will also be affected. It will also, of course, fall disproportionately on the shoulders of Muslim women."

The paper continued, "Into the future, then, it will give companies a legal instrument to discriminate against Muslim women. Of course, many companies will decide not to create such a rule against religious symbols. But if they wished to, they could, and Muslim women would immediately find those companies closed to them. That amounts to clear discrimination, forcing Muslim women to choose between their deeply held religious beliefs and their careers.

"Interestingly, this ruling also goes against a prior ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that found employees had a right to wear religious symbols, although that decision was over the wearing of a Christian cross, suggesting that Europe’s institutions are confused about which is a priority."

In conclusion, the paper said that the ruling will give succour to the far right, who are seeking to make Islamophobia part of the national conversation and who want to ban outright the hijab – not merely in companies, but everywhere in society. "They will see this ruling as evidence that their backwards attitude is spreading across the European continent," it said.

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