Court upholds right to wear hijab

25th Sep 2020

Harun Nasrullah

Berlin’s ban on teachers’ donning the hiiab is unconstitutional, a top German court ruled on August 27.

A teacher who was not allowed to teach in Berlin state schools because she wore a headscarf was “discriminated against because of her religion,” the Federal Labour Court ruled.

Education in Germany is the responsibility of the individual states, which each have their own education ministry.

Dirk Behrendt, Berlin’s senator of justice, argued against the ban, writing on Twitter, ‘In a multi-religious society, it must be about what one has in their head and not on their head.’

Under Berlin’s 2005 Neutrality Act, which prevents civil servants from wearing religious clothing and symbols, teachers in the city were banned from wearing headscarves.

The anonymous woman brought the case to the lower Berlin-Brandenburg labor court.

In 2018 the lower court ordered Berlin to compensate her €5,159 (£4,600), saying headscarves could only be banned if there was a concrete threat to peace at school.
The court’s ruling came after Berlin filed an appeal, citing the neutrality act. But the Federal court sided with the lower court ruling.

The Federal court also cited a 2015 ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court stating freedom of religion could not be restricted due to an “abstract danger” but only if “sufficient concrete danger” is seen in the disturbance of school peace.

Unlike in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark, Germany has no general ban on wearing full-face veils in public.

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