Muslims Slam EU Court’s Headscarf Ban

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EU Court of Justice rules that employers can ban workers from wearing religious symbol, including headscarf
EU Court of Justice rules that employers can ban workers from wearing religious symbol, including headscarf

BERLIN (AA) — The Court of Justice of the European Union has sparked outrage among Muslim communities after it ruled on Tuesday that employers can prevent their workers from wearing religious symbols, including headscarves worn by certain Muslim women.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the ruling saying that there was nothing acceptable about the decision, during an interview aired live on HaberTurk, Bloomberg HT and Show TV.

“This is so wrong. There is nothing acceptable about this [decision]. It is against the human rights, freedom of belief and freedom of dress,” Yildirim said.

In Germany, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany also sharply criticized the ruling, saying it was in contradiction with the basic freedoms guaranteed under the major European conventions on human rights.

“With their decision today the judges of the Court of Justice of the European Union have opened the door for further discrimination of Muslim women in Europe and they have further restricted the legal options for objecting such discriminatory measures,” the council said in a press release.

Bekir Altas, secretary general of the Islamic Community of Milli Gorus, one of the largest organizations of the Turkish-Muslim community in Germany has also condemned the court ruling.

“The ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union is a wrong decision. Moreover it is open to misuse,” he said.

‘Unacceptable situation’

Altas warned that following this ruling, more Muslim women would be further excluded from the labor market and lose their opportunity to gain their economic independence.

“This is an unacceptable situation. Politicians should immediately take necessary steps in the parliament to introduce measures to strengthen the struggle against discrimination,” he added.

Bekir Alboga, secretary general of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) said the right of Muslim women to wear the headscarf should be respected by all, as religious freedoms are protected by the German constitution.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Tuesday that employers can ban their workers from wearing any religious symbol, including headscarves worn by certain Muslim women.

In a ruling on two separate appeals made by Belgium and France over the headscarf ban, the court said companies could bar staff from “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign”.

The EU court further said the decision to ban such symbols at workplaces was not discriminatory.

Amel Yacef, European Network Against Racism (ENAR) Chair, criticized the decision describing it as “Muslim ban”

Yacef said in Brussels the decision would “effectively” keep away all Muslim women wearing a headscarf from the workplace.

In Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus joined the premier in describing it as a “disgrace” in an interview with CNN Turk.

“This cannot be acceptable. The decision which does not comply with any standards of Europe, with any humanitarian values and freedom of human is a disgrace,” Kurtulmus said.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci also told Anadolu Agency in Turkey’s eastern province of Van that practices against human rights and freedom in Europe had become popular.

Rights group slams EU court’s hijab ruling

Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday criticized a ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) that says employers can prevent their workers from wearing religious symbols, including Islamic headscarves.

The ruling “give greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women — and men — on the grounds of religious belief,” according to the rights group.

AI urged nations states to react against the decision.

Tuesday’s ruling comes in response to appeals courts in Belgium and France calling on ECJ after two cases of Muslim women fired for wearing the headscarf, or hijab.

Samira Achbita took action after she was removed in 2006 as a receptionist at the G4S security company in Belgium.

In the second case, French IT firm Micropole dismissed Asma Bougnaoui in 2008.

EU court’s headscarf ruling ‘violation of human rights’

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has called a European Union court’s ruling allowing employers to prevent workers from wearing religious symbols, including headscarves worn by certain Muslim women, a violation of human rights.

“Forcing people to choose between religious beliefs and their jobs doesn’t comply with either human rights or EU values nor with law and justice,” Bozdag tweeted Wednesday.

“Banning the headscarf as a ‘workplace rule’ is an indisputable violation of human rights, freedom of thought and faith as well as the right to work.”

According to the minister, neither increasing racism and discrimination nor Islamophobia and xenophobia on the continent are acceptable excuses for European courts to violate fairness. He described the latest move as the “apocalypse of justice”.

The posts came after the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Tuesday that employers can prevent their workers from wearing any religious symbol — including headscarves.

In a ruling on two separate appeals made by Belgium and France over the headscarf ban, the court said companies could bar staff from “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign”.

The EU court further said the decision to ban such symbols at workplaces was not discriminatory.

Later Wednesday, Bozdag told reporters in the central Turkish city of Yozgat that the highest authority for the protection of common European law had only managed to “bomb” its own laws and values.

“I feel sorry for them,” he said. “As a legal expert, I condemn those who made this decision.”

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