Advertisement Close

European Employers Can Now Fire Women for Wearing the Hijab

posted on: Mar 16, 2017

BY: Julia Jahanpour/Contributing Writer

The European Union has addressed its disapproval of the hijab in public spaces, including the work place and schools, for years. This past Tuesday, the European Court of Justice ruled that employers are allowed to ban of workers from wearing anything “of any political, philosophical, or religious sign.” This includes the Muslim headscarf, the hijab.

The context of the ruling is all-inclusive and caters to any visible sign of religious affiliation from any person. However, the public disdain for hijabs will make Muslim women the target of this ruling. It was a receptionist in Belgium wearing a headscarf to work that brought the issue to lawmakers in the first place.

Many Europeans agree that religious symbols and headscarves do not belong in the public sector. For hijab-wearers, Europeans believe that displaying a religious cloth publicly is not a choice, but an expectation for Muslim women. Unlike wearing rosary beads or having a tattoo of the cross, a hijab is a symbol of good faith and must be practiced. To fire a woman because she wears a hijab is to say she cannot work because she is Muslim.

This ruling, which allows hundreds of employers to fire hijabis, will push Muslim women out of the work place and into the fringes of European society. Many hijabis may be top performers in their fields and their headscarves have never stood in the way of them achieving outstanding performance. Additionally, there is no evidence that indicating that hijabs have a direct affect on a woman’s performance in the workplace – it only clashes with the religious and/or feminist views of their employer.

John Phillips from Milton Keynes, England emailed the BBC saying, “Finally common sense has prevailed! A religion or religious belief is an individual – a personal – choice.”

He further stated, “Religion, and or its observance should play no part what so ever in public life.”

Phillips supports the ruling to ban woman from wearing hijabs in the workplace, but doesn’t speak on Christian symbols. Europe is a predominately Christian continent, making it easy for there to be a bias towards symbolically Christian displayed motifs in public spaces.

Does the extent of this ban also apply to the many offices throughout Europe that decorate for Christmas and other religious holidays? Its seen as wrong by a lot of the European public for Muslim countries to force their women to dress in certain ways, so is it not a contradiction to also force women to appear in a certain way?

In an attempt to be separated from religion, the European Union is forcing the same kind of law on Muslim women as the Islamic governments of those countries.

It seems as though this ruling is a step backwards for Muslim women’s rights, as well as their ability to sustain their own livelihood in Europe.