A Palestinian refugee in Germany has been fired from an internship at her local town hall after she refused to remove her hijab. The town’s mayor told the woman, who has not been named under German privacy laws, she could not wear the headscarf, as Government workers had to be seen to be neutral.
But the decision has been controversial, with critics saying it has no basis in German law. The 48-year-old won an internship at Luckenwalde town hall under a special programme to help refugees integrate in German society.
But when she turned up to her first day at work, she was confronted by the town’s mayor, Elizabeth Herzog von der Heide.
“We told her that a neutrality requirement applies here,” said von der Heide. “Religious symbols have no place in our Government. We also do not allow crucifixes on the walls.”
The mayor asked the intern to remove the headscarf, but she refused. “She said she could only do that when no men were present,” von der Heide said. “So she had to finish her internship.”