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European Court of Justice ruling restricts religious freedom

The+European+Court+of+Justice+is+responsible+for+making+sure+laws+are+applied+equally+to+all+European+Union+members.+
The European Court of Justice is responsible for making sure laws are applied equally to all European Union members.

The European Court of Justice is responsible for making sure laws are applied equally to all European Union members.

Photo via Google under Creative Commons license

Photo via Google under Creative Commons license

The European Court of Justice is responsible for making sure laws are applied equally to all European Union members.

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The European Union’s highest court ruled against religious freedom by allowing employers to ban Muslim women from wearing face and head coverings at work.

The decision handed down by the court allows employers to ban any religious symbol, including Christian ones, but given the tide of religious intolerance in Europe, it will not be applied equally to everyone.

“There’s no doubt that Muslims are the main group in the line of fire,” Iman Amrani wrote for The Guardian. “That’s why far-right groups across the continent were so delighted with it.”

The targeting of Muslim women’s expression of their faith is nothing new in Western countries. Bans on headscarves and the like have been present since 2003, though they have increased in recent years.

“For its wearers the hijab is a core part of their way of life, linked to the way they choose to practise their faith,” Amrani wrote. “It is not up for debate. By permitting a ban on the hijab, Europe is essentially permitting a ban on Muslim women in the workplace.”

There is no real reason to ban Muslim women’s head coverings. They don’t prevent said women from performing their duties. If a customer has a problem with the way a Muslim woman presents her faith, the problem is with the customer.

Do we really believe that women who have a religious conviction to wear the headscarf are just going to take it off when they start their job each day?” Amrani asked in her article. “I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works. Identity isn’t something you suppress for public spaces. I don’t stop being a Muslim when I come into work and turn into a journalist. I practise my faith in the canteen by not choosing the pork option, or when I ask for a soft drink instead of wine at the after-work drinks. If my colleagues notice that I’m doing this, and it makes them uncomfortable, should I be forced to behave differently?”

Muslims are people and have the right to exist as Muslims in public spaces. These bans and restrictions placed on Muslims essentially criminalize an entire religion and are unacceptable. If  Europe has any moral integrity, this court decision will be challenged and overturned.

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European Court of Justice ruling restricts religious freedom