The European Court of Justice ruled on the 15th of July that employers in the European Union have the right to ban their employees from wearing headscarves in certain situations. The verdict says that the interest of the employer to conduct a neutral appearance weighs more than the freedom of religion in some circumstances. According to the European Court this includes all political, religious, and philosophical symbols.
The lawsuit was filed by two Muslim women who work in Germany at a children’s daycare and a drug store chain. Earlier in 2017 the court made a similar verdict when a Belgian and French Muslim woman filed a lawsuit against their employer as well. And just like in 2017, the court ruled in favor of the employer so that they may maintain their neutral image. Furthermore, the court views that the right of the employer to avoid social conflicts, as long as there is no discrimination, weighs more than the right of the employee to wear a headscarf or any other religious symbol.
First, it is clear that the part of the Court’s verdict regarding all expressions of religious and philosophical symbols are pure formalities. The verdict affects only the Muslims by a long shot as this is the second time a lawsuit regarding this issue was filed by Muslim women. It is a superficial way to mask the stench of injustice within the verdict. Recently, the UEFA got into trouble because they did not want to display LGBTQ+ symbols. This led to outrage in Europe throughout several of its countries and their leaders. No one accepted the reasoning of the UEFA that they want to maintain a neutral appearance or avoid social conflicts.
Second, the reasoning of the verdict is based on loose and weak arguments if one could call them arguments for that matter. What exactly is a “neutral image”? How does one define a neutral appearance and ensures its universal acceptance? They ascertain that a woman wearing a headscarf is responsible for potential outcry on the side of customers or civilians! The crooked reasoning behind this does not deserve further explanation. But to get the point across, the outcry of the European people towards Islamic symbols did not come about through a vacuum. It developed throughout the years by means of a smear campaign against Islam and the Muslims through media and politicians.
Lastly, Muslims should not think that this verdict will have little consequence for them in The Netherlands. Moreover, this ban is already enforced at the courthouses among other locations! The so-called freedom that the West propagates as being the cradle of civilization is but an illusion. A mere sales pitch in which they themselves do not genuinely believe in. The possibility that customers or civilians get upset by seeing a Muslim woman is enough to throw these so-called fundamental freedoms in the trash. The verdict of the European Court of Justice is therefore yet another sign of the decline and failure of the secular capitalist system.
Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in The Netherlands
5 Dhu al-Hijjah 1442 – Thursday, 15th July 2021
No: 11 / 1442