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European Union Allows Private Companies to Set Limits on Religious Attire
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Muslim attire

Summary: The European Union ruled today that private companies have the right to ban religious attire like Muslim head scarves as long as it is enforced across all religions.

The European Union made a big decision today by ruling that private employers can prohibit female Muslim workers from wearing head scarves at work. The ruling throws the regions highest court into the politically explosive area of public expression.


The ruling by the European Court of Justice that companies could ban “the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” was not direct discrimination if it applies to all religious clothing. This means that a Sikh turban and Jewish skullcap are included, along with any other religious symbols.

Research fellow at the Center for European Reform in Brussels, Camino Mortera-Martinez, explained, “It is a very bold step. Recently we have seen the court being much more attentive to the political winds rather than being so legalistic, because of the recognition that the E.U. is at risk of collapse.”

The European Union decided earlier this month that member states are not required to issue visas for people planning to seek asylum in their country, even if they are seeking asylum under inhuman treatment or threat of violence. Both decisions show the Union’s move away from their previous years’ rulings of favoring the rights of minorities.

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Europe has struggled with the influx of migrants from predominantly Muslim countries. Last year a few French municipalities made a statement to the world when the governments banned Muslim women from wearing burkinis while swimming at their beaches. Other countries such as Belgium and Austria have followed with their own laws banning full face-covering veils in public or are considering enacting their own laws.

Do you think head scarves and other religious attire are such a bad thing? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about bans on religious attire, read these articles:



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