A ruling by the European Union’s top law court which states that employers are entitled to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols is legitimised discrimination on the grounds of religion, so says Kim Lecoyer, president of Belgium-based Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights.
However, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign”.
Described by critics as a thinly veiled measure targeting Muslims, the ban according to Warda el-Kaddouri seems like a disguised ban on the hijab.
“A ban on religious and political symbols feels to me as a disguised ban on the hijab. I cannot think of another symbol that will affect hundreds of thousands of people in Europe,” el-Kaddouri said.
Continuing, he added that; “By stating that veiled women can simply take off their hijab, you imply that the empowerment of women to be in control of their own body and to make individual decisions is reserved for white women only.”
The court gave a judgment in the cases of two women, in France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove hijabs, or the headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion.
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