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The Islamic Headscarf: Does Context Matter?

19 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009 Last revised: 6 Jul 2009

María Fraile Ortiz

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Date Written: July 22, 2008


This article deals with one of the most interesting contemporary conflicts between fundamental rights, that concerning freedom of thought, conscience and religion, with particular reference to the use of the Islamic headscarf in educational institutions (I, The conflict). As an illustration of this conflict, we shall focus on one particular case, Leyla Sahin's case, brought before the European Court of Human Rights in 2004 (II, The case). That case will be our starting point, as it contains some of the essential coordinates which must be borne in mind when resolving such conflicts. Our next step will be to identify these coordinates (III, The coordinates). Then with these coordinates we shall examine the course set by the different rulings that have been handed down in order to resolve the conflict and by the specific legislation enacted (IV, The course). Finally, we shall attempt to draw certain conclusions (V, Conclusion).

Keywords: Islamic Headscarf, Freedom of Religion, Educational Institutions, Europe, Conflicts between Fundamental Rights

Suggested Citation

Fraile Ortiz, María, The Islamic Headscarf: Does Context Matter? (July 22, 2008). InDret, Vol. 3, 2008; Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 09-65. Available at SSRN:

María Fraile Ortiz (Contact Author)

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Faculty of Social Sciences and Law ( email )

Getafe (Madrid), 28903

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