Press Release

European Court of Justice has remained committed to its religion-unfriendly stance

20. July 2021
Pressemitteilung/press release

“The European Court of Justice has left Muslim women in a dilemma to choose between their religion and work. This cannot be convincing in a liberal democratic order,” explained Bekir Altaş, Secretary General of the Islamic Community Millî Görüş (IGMG). The reason for this is a decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), according to which employers may ban headscarves. Bekir Altaş continued:

“The European Court of Justice has remained committed to its previous religion-unfriendly stance. It continues to undermine the right of Muslim women to live and work as equals. As the basis for its decision, the court sometimes makes a limp comparison that in practice only affects Muslim women, since the headscarf is an integral part of Muslim practice. Those who wear it cannot take it off as if it was a jewelry for reasons of faith. Consequently, they alone are faced with the decision to choose between their faith and work. This is not constitutionally tenable.

It is now up to German courts to use the leeway granted by the ECJ to national courts and go their own way. This is the path that enables people to live a life free of discrimination, regardless of their religion; a path that also sends a message to society as a whole and to politics: Namely, that women with headscarves are a natural part of this society with the same rights as everybody.

Scientific studies indicate that one third of Muslim woman who do not wear a headscarf does so out of fear of discrimination in her social and professional environment. Contributing to this social climate have been populist and Islamophobic debates on the backs of Muslim women. But jurisprudence has also played its part in this development. In a liberal democratic order, such a mood, in which minorities cannot develop freely for fear of repression and exclusion, must have no place.”