Teacher wins anti-hijab case in Germany

24th Feb 2017
Teacher wins anti-hijab case in Germany

(Photo: Creative Commons)

Nadine Osman

A German court ruled in favour of a teacher who was denied a teaching job at a public school due to her wearing the headscarf (hijab).

The Regional Labor Court in Berlin-Branderburg ordered Berlin’s city-state government to pay €8,680 (£7,395) in compensation to the woman who had filed a lawsuit against the Education Ministry. Judge Renate Schaude ruled on February 9 the ministry’s refusal to give her the teaching post discriminatory.

In 2015, Germany’s Constitutional Court had annulled a general ban on teachers wearing headscarves and ruled that a ban could only be imposed if the hijab threatens the peaceful environment at a school. The judge ruled the woman’s hijab did not pose a threat to peace at the school she wanted to work in Berlin.

Despite the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2015, a number of German states, like Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin, are reluctant to allow teachers to wear the hijab, often citing the provisions of their “neutrality laws”.

The city-state Berlin’s neutrality law prohibits public employees, including teachers, police and justice workers from wearing religious clothing and symbols. However, the hijab ban has been lifted in many states like Bremen, Lower Saxony, Hesse and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Europe, and among the four million Muslims, most of whom are of Turkish origin. Although several German states ban headscarf for teachers, the country has no law banning students from wearing headscarves.

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