European Union’s Luxembourg-based top law court just today announced that the wearing of Muslim headscarf can be prohibited by private employers in Europe, so long as it has “An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign which does not constitute direct discrimination.” This ruling has been put in place for companies that want to present a “neutral” image of their workers, but threatens the employment of thousands of Muslim women in Europe. This case was brought by when two women from Belgium and France were dismissed from work after refusing to take off their hijabs.
A hijab is a length of material that usually covers the hair and neck of a Muslim women. It is a popular practice and those who chose to wear a hijab generally wear it every time they go out. Removing their right to wear a spiritually earnest article of clothing will ultimately lead them to leave their jobs as the consensus is most women would not work without a hijab. This is a very clear sign of discrimination as no other religious symbols are so sincerely worn to the point where it becomes part of the person wearing it and prosecutions against religious articles are predominantly against Muslims. Following the much-publicised previous burkini ban in France, this case is an indicator that the European Justice Courts are obscurely repressive against Islamic practices in Europe. Refusing a women the right to work because of a harmless piece of clothing that she has chosen to be dedicated to is frankly a breach of her human rights and is incredibly sexist.
François Fillon, the conservative candidate in the French presidential election who has recently been put under formal investigation over “fake job” scandal, stated that the ruling is an “an immense relief” that would inspire “social peace”, but with the growing intolerance for Muslims across the globe, can this really proceed without ‘direct discrimination’ being a poignant factor?