National Muslim Women’s Organisation, Amina MWRC concerned by EU Court ban on the wearing of visible political or religious symbols in the workplace
Yesterday it was declared by The European Union Court of Justice that it is not “direct discrimination” to ban hijab in the workplace, the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to “dress neutrally”, said the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The court ruled that a ban on the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign” such as headscarves is not illegal. Europe has just started to enshrine racism, religious intolerance and xenophobia into law.
Samina Ansari, CEO of Amina MWRC stated:
“Annually we work with over 500 Muslim women through our employability projects in Glasgow and Dundee, and are aware of the precedent and negative impact that such a ruling will have on further penalising and denying Muslim women that wear hijab, from aspiring to or accessing employment opportunities, climbing up the career ladder or continuing in specific roles. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right that is promoted in the West, and yet to restrict this very freedom, of wearing the hijab, you are oppressing women that are active citizens, integrated and contributing to society, fuelling the continued undermining of this already discriminated community group”.
Nadia El-Nakla, Board Member commented:
“At Amina MWRC we have worked for over a decade to remove barriers which stop Muslim women entering employment, smashing stereotypes along the way that a piece of clothing doesn’t define a woman, or curtail their ambition or dreams. Sadly, we are now seeing Islamophobia sweep across Europe, and in this ruling the Court of Justice has just legitimised it. No women should be forced to wear hijab and no women should be forced to remove it. Communities need to stand together to fight for individual’s rights to practise their faith freely without fear of discrimination and prejudice”.
This ruling is a backward step for justice and equality. This ruling will serve to normalise discrimination against faith communities and women of faith.
Nadia El-Nakla 0773465337
Samina Ansari 0141 212 8420
Aziza Khand Chair 0141 212 8420
Note 1: Amina offers a range of tailored support services for Muslim women such as a national signposting and ‘listening ear’ helpline service, employability guidance, befriending, peer group support through ‘self care’ workshops and mental health programmes under the Violence Against Women programme and refugee support work to facilitate the integration of people new to Scotland. Amina also creatively raises awareness of key issues through our engaging campaigns such as ‘You Can Change This’, ‘I Speak for Myself’ which aim to tackle violence against women, and the negative stereotyping of Muslim women respectively.