The EU Ban of Headscarfs in the Workplace

This week the European Court of Justice made a decision that would allow workplaces to prohibit employees from wearing religious and political symbols. A ban as such would affect many people of different religions, but would disproportionately affect Muslim women. The two cases that led the case to the European Court of Justice were both concerning Muslim women being fired solely because of the presence of their headscarves, and the companies negative connotation with headscarves. Although the ruling does not explicitly target the headscarves of Muslim women, it is framed in such a way that makes them more exploited by the ban. However, Muslim women will not be the only ones affected. Jennifer Rankin and Philip Oltermann, co-writers of the article quote Maryam H’madoun of the Open Society Justice Initiative stating that “[the ban] will lead to Muslim women being discriminated in the workplace, but also Jewish men who wear kippas, Sikh men who wear turbans, people who wear crosses”. Having the EU make decisions like this that hinder religious freedom projects a sense of instability and a cause to worry. With the political climate in the U.S. and the increasing presence of “alt right” politics in various nations of the world, it is hard for one to not be frightened by what may come of these actions if they are not stopped or brought to all of the attention of the broader public.