Wearing Headscarves in the Workplace: Comparing Approaches of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union

نوع المستند : المقالة الأصلية


Chair for EU Law, Public International Law and Public Law, Europa-Institut of Saarland University, Germany



The article sets a brief comparative review of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union with respect to the limitations imposed on the right to freedom of religion, by shedding light on the example of wearing the Islamic headscarf in the European sphere. It examines the background giving rise to the first European ban on wearing the headscarf in schools, followed by a reflection on its proscription in the university stage. The analysis explicates the interaction between the unhindered state interventions on the one hand, and the extent of the supervisory role exercised by the esteemed supra-national courts. In so doing, it unveils the recurring deference of Europe’s top courts to the arguments of the member states regarding the manifestation of the right to freedom of religion in public space. Arguments such as preserving secularism, state neutrality and respect for the rights of others were rhetorically employed in tandem with a wide margin of appreciation accorded to the member states to the extent of inconsistency with the provisions of the normative instruments (the ECHR and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) and former jurisprudence of the courts.

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