German court upholds ban on Hijab-clad teachers

A German court upheld a ban on female Muslim teachers wearing the Islamic headscarf, or Hijab, in state schools under a law stipulating that teachers' attire must be in line with "Christian Western" values.

German court upholds ban on Hijab-clad teachers

A Berlin-based Islamic association had protested the law, which authorities in the conservative-run state of Bavaria have used to ban Muslim teachers from wearing the Hijab while allowing Roman Catholic nuns to wear their head coverings in schools.

The law effectively blocks any religious expression in schools that could be deemed incompatible with constitutional, "Christian and Western'' values, according to a statement on the Web site of the Bavarian Constitutional Court.

The court said in its ruling on Monday that the Hijab ban neither violated religious freedom nor was discriminatory.

It also ruled that veiled Muslim teachers are not in a position to "mediate and embody constitutional educational goals, particularly the equal treatment of men and woman".

According to the ruling, a nun wearing a head covering isn't in violation of the law, because such vestments represent "Christian and Western'' values.

Judge Karl Huber said that the Bavarian state law did not favor the Christian faith, saying that the religious feelings of students and parents must be considered because teachers must transmit the values of the constitution.

But the Islamic Religious Community denounced the court ruling, saying that it violates equal treatment.

"We consider this decision wrong,'' said Abdurrahim Vural, president of the Islamic Religious Community.

A law "exclusively directed at Muslims and that expressly makes an exception for Christian nuns'' violates equal treatment, he added.

The Islamic Religious Community is now considering taking the case to the Federal Constitutional Court, Germany's highest court, according to one of the group's lawyers.

The Hijab is meant to protect Muslim women from the eyes of men outside their family. It has been the subject of heated debate in several European countries for more than a decade.

The German Parliament debated banning Muslim students from wearing the Hijab in 2003, when such a law was proposed in France, where Muslims make up 8% of the population. The Hijab ban was adopted by the French parliament in 2004, sparking Muslim anger.

In 2003, Germany's highest tribunal, the Constitutional Court, ruled that it was wrong to ban Muslim teachers from wearing a headscarf in the classroom.

However, it said that Germany's 16 states could legislate independently to ban religious outfits.

There are now eight German states that imposed the Hijab ban on public school Muslim teachers.

The ban sparked a debate about religious freedom and integration and prompted the German government to begin a series of meetings with representatives of the country's five million Muslims to foster better relations with the Islamic community.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16