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Boris Johnson urged to speak out against EU hijab ban

July 19, 2021 at 7:02 pm

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street ahead of weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in House of Commons in London, England on July 7 2021 [Tayfun Salci – Anadolu Agency]

A prominent British parliamentary group on Monday urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to speak out against the recent EU court ruling that has placed a ban on Muslim women wearing the hijab, or headscarf, at workplace, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a letter to the prime minister, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims denounced the ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), arguing that the judgement not only affects Muslims but people of other faiths as well, and that the headscarf is not just a religious symbol but a fundamental part of their identity.

“This judgement sets a dangerous precedent for its impact on Muslims but also Jews, Sikhs, Christians and people of other faiths. This ruling not only threatens personal freedoms but creates additional barriers in the workplace, particularly for Muslim women, and opens the door to justify further discrimination and Islamophobia,” the APPG said.

READ: Top EU court says headscarves can be banned at work

“We urge you to speak out against this ruling that threatens fundamental freedoms. We ask you to raise this matter with your European counterparts and to stress the importance of human rights, including the freedom of Religion and Belief.”

Student Union Leader at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Maryam Pougetoux, stirred controversy in France after she appeared on TV wearing a headscarf

Student Union Leader at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Maryam Pougetoux, stirred controversy in France after she appeared on TV wearing a headscarf

The APPG also called out many errors within the ECJ’s ruling – which argues that the hijab is a “large sized sign” which symbolizes “political, philosophical or religious beliefs.”

The group, instead, explained that the idea of the hijab is not just a headscarf, but a way in which millions of women choose to dress.

It drew a contradiction between the ruling and Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which allows for the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

READ: Turkey condemns EU court ruling on headscarf ban as violation of freedoms

The letter to the prime minister was signed by a number of cross-party MPs including Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Naz Shah, Steve Baker, Afzal Khan and Kristen Oswald.

On July 15, the ECJ confirmed the right of private employers to fire employees for wearing the hijab or other religious symbols. The ruling originates from two cases of German Muslim women being fired from their respective jobs for wearing the headscarves.

Despite German courts finding the sacking of the Muslim women to be discriminatory and in contravention to the country’s Constitution, the ECJ decided on the contrary.

The ruling states that companies in member states can ban employees from wearing headscarves if they “need to present a neutral image to customers.”