The Islamic Veil and Freedom of Religion, the Rights to Education and Work: A Survey of Recent International and National Cases
Posted: 4 Jul 2008
The wearing of the female Islamic dress (generally referred to as the hijab), or any feature of this dress such as the headscarf (khimar), face veil (niqab) and the head-to-toe all enveloping garment (jilbab) is a complex and multi-faceted issue that is often raised in public debate in most European States in recent years particularly in the education and employment areas. This article analyses the selected State practice and judicial decisions on the banning and similar restrictions to the wearing of the Islamic dress in State schools. Two issues are analysed: (i) whether the prohibition of female Muslim pupils or students from wearing the Islamic dress, or any feature of the Islamic dress, while at State schools amounts to an unjustifiable violation of the right to education and/or an unjustifiable violation of freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs and (ii) if a State (or a non-State actor) prohibits a female Muslim teacher from wearing the Islamic dress while at a State school, does this amount to a violation of the teacher's right to work and/or the teacher's right to manifest freedom of religion or belief?
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