Hypocritical ruling against hijab by EU court

July 5, 2021, the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) issued a scandalous rule. The court ruled that EU companies could legally ban workers from wearing or using anything as a religious symbol in their workplace. In practice, the ruling outlaws the wearing of the hijab and religious clothing by Muslim women in the workplace in EU countries. 

However, to avoid criticism, the ruling included all religious groups. Even then, criticism against it could not be stopped. Responding to the criticism, the court said the decision ruled that company owners could impose a general ban on the use of "political, philosophical and religious" symbols in their workplaces if they so wished.

 And according to this court, the verdict is not direct discrimination against any religious group. Critics, especially human rights groups, are reluctant to comply.

Amnesty International opposes the decision. The agency claims: "This frustrating ruling by CJEU will create a favourable opportunity for employers to discriminate against Muslim women as well as men on the grounds of religious beliefs."

According to the agency, the ruling by the European Union's apex court will allow companies to curtail religious freedom by banning the use of headscarves by Muslim women in their workplaces under certain conditions. This ruling is practically an example of a violation of religious freedom. As a result, Muslim women in Europe have to choose between their work or their religion.

Human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the ruling, which seeks to ban private employees from wearing religious clothing, will hurt Muslim women the most. The agency also called the ruling a "human rights violation." 

The statement from HRW said, "Muslim women are leaving their school teaching jobs as a result of similar discriminatory restrictions on the use of religious clothing and symbols imposed on teachers and other civilian employees in Germany." In the last three years, 600 women have been fined in that country for covering their faces. 

And because of the ban of 2004 in France, there has been a drop in the number of Muslim girls wearing the hijab in schools in that country. ' The imposition of such forcible bans on Muslim women wearing hijabs and burqas is increasing their social isolation.

The court said there may be a real need to present the company's image to customers impartially and to avoid social disputes. To meet that need, EU companies will be able to restrict religious, political and philosophical views in their workplaces. In this context, Human Rights Watch thinks that in the past, the door to create inequality in employment has been opened on the pretext of 'real need', 'protecting the company's image to the customers' and 'avoiding social disputes'.

 The statement said that if Muslim women were to be banned from wearing the hijab or burqa, Jews should be similarly banned from wearing kippah and Sikhs from wearing turbans. But in reality, there is no reflection of it. All the prohibitions on various excuses are only on Muslims, especially Muslim women.

Muslim women traditionally wear hijabs covering their heads and shoulders in obedience to their religious precepts. But for several years now, there has been a division in Europe over whether or not to wear the hijab. In Europe, hijab-wearing Muslim women have been in a precarious situation for years over their security, religious freedom and human rights. 

In this context, CJEU issued this controversial rule. This ruling will surely increase the concerns of these women on security, religious freedom and human rights. This ruling is a hypocritical move to deprive the European Union of its human rights, religious freedom and discrimination. In this way, open discrimination against Muslim women is taking place in Europe, in which Europe can no longer claim itself as a haven for democracy and human rights.

The European Union Court of Justice issued the rule in two cases. A woman from Belgium and another woman from France took their case to this court. After working for a Belgian security firm, Samira decided in 2006 to continue wearing the hijab not only in her spare time but also at work, as she had done before. 

The company told him it was against their rules. Their rules prohibit the use of ‘political, philosophical and religious symbols’. Samira was then fired for wearing the hijab. Samira filed a case in court.

On the other hand, when Asma, a female software designer from France, used to meet customers after hijab in 2006, her company did not have any restrictions in this regard. But when the customer complained about the hijab, the company told him not to wear it again. But she continued to wear the hijab. As a result, he was fired.

This court in Luxembourg says that someone doesn't like the hijab, only this excuse is not enough to ban the wearing of the hijab. In addition, the court said that all employees of a company should be treated equally, regardless of their personal or religious beliefs.

However, the ruling said EU companies could legally ban workers from wearing or using anything as a religious symbol in their workplaces.

However, the court's ruling did not surprise those familiar with Europe's growing Islamophobia. Efforts have been made for many years since Europe to regularly denigrate, marginalize and identify Muslims as criminals. This Islamophobia became more apparent in the world after the terrorist attacks of the Nine-Eleven in the United States and the beginning of the so-called 'War on Terror' of the US-led coalition.

 In recent years, this Islamophobia has entered the mainstream of European politics. And European politicians are sacrificing that formula by using Islamophobia as a tool in the face of Muslim economic decline, rising unemployment, irregular immigration, social strife and global terrorism.

At a time when anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise in Europe, the CJEU's ruling will serve as a turning point in Muslims' relations with the European Union. By issuing a rule authorizing companies to ban Muslim women from wearing the hijab, the court virtually reinforced the task of institutionalizing, legitimizing and rationalizing anti-Muslim discrimination in the workplace in European countries.

 In the last five years, racist and anti-Muslim attacks in the West have increased two and a half times. And the number of people who lost their lives in these attacks has increased by 70 per cent. In the same period, more than 15,000 Islamophobic attacks were recorded in the five largest countries in Europe. In this context, the CJEU's ruling sent a clear message to Muslims in Europe: You can live in safety and peace in Europe, but you must stay away from religion and avoid the national symbol of the visible religious entity.

The court did not miss the opportunity to criticize human rights abuses in Muslim countries. However, the court ruled in favour of banning or dismissing a person for merely displaying religious symbols in the workplace.

 However, the European Union has repeatedly stated that it is committed to gender equality. With the CJEU ruling on July 15, the EU practically took the position of the extreme right on the question of religious freedom. But according to Europe's declaration, Europe is: 'Champion of Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom'. What a horrible contrast.

To understand the extent of this hypocrisy in Europe, let's look at another fictional event. Suppose Turkey, a Muslim-majority country, issues a similar ruling. This ruling is practically issued against the Christian, Jewish and Hindu citizens of the country.

 It is said that Turkish companies will be able to ban the use of certain symbols of these religions in their workplaces. What would be the reaction of European leaders then? The reaction was obvious: European leaders condemned Turkey's ruling, saying it violated religious freedom and human rights. 

They would not stop saying that. Instead, they called on the international community to impose international sanctions on Turkey. They would say that this has created discrimination against the citizens of the country due to their religious beliefs. The EU would call the ruling unfair and unacceptable. 

But when a similar ruling was issued by the Supreme European Court against Muslim citizens, European leaders seem to have nothing to say. This is the pattern of the hypocrisy of the Europeans.

This hypocrisy of the European Union did not surprise Turkey at all. Because Turkey is well aware of the hypocrisy of the European Union. Turkey has been trying to join the European Union for the past decade. But the EU is not giving him a chance on various pretexts. The biggest obstacle is Turkey becoming a Muslim-majority country. 

However, many European countries do not hesitate to openly mention the religious beliefs of the majority of their citizens as one of the reasons for not allowing Turkey to become a member of the EU. So we cannot expect any European leader to speak out against this ruling. 

This ruling makes ridiculous the Europeans' own claim to be a 'haven for democracy and human rights. Such discriminatory ruling has undoubtedly brought down the EU's status in the international arena. And it proves that the EU is concerned about human rights and freedoms only when it is in its best interests. 

Perhaps the reason why European leaders have remained silent on this ruling question is that this ruling will play a helpful role in establishing their fictional ‘European Islam’. They hypothesise that this new type of Islam will have its roots in Europe and will be based on European values. 

And the work of integrating the Muslims of Europe into the European society will also be completed. Many European leaders believe that anti-Muslim discrimination can only be Europeanized through institutionalization.

The reality is that the EU will not be able to establish itself as a true champion of human rights, freedoms and democracy unless it comes out of adopting and practising discriminatory, harmful and extreme racist policies like the one in European countries. European officials and leaders should, therefore, as soon as possible, withdraw the ruling on this hypocritical policy.

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