Home Affairs Correspondent
A court in the German state of Bavaria has banned a pupil from wearing a face veil (niqab) during lessons, rejecting her argument that she had a constitutional right to do so.
The 18-year-old had been shut out of lessons at a state run vocational college near Regensburg for refusing to remove her niqab.
She argued that the ban was a contravention of her constitutional right to religious expression. The Bavarian administrative court rejected her complaint in a ruling on April 22, on the basis that the school’s demand to remove the veil for lessons did not represent an illegal restriction of her rights.
The wearing of the face-covering during teaching periods, the court wrote in a statement, prevented essential non-verbal communication between teachers and pupils.
Judges found that the right of the state to educate took priority over the pupil’s right to religious expression. “Open communication during teaching is based not only on the spoken word, but also on non-verbal elements such as facial expressions, gestures and other body language,” the court said.
If these elements of communication are missing, the ruling stated, teachers could no longer properly fulfil their job.