Is There a Place for Islam in the West? Adjudicating the Muslim Headscarf in Europe and the United States
7 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 7, 2017
The issue of accommodating Islam, especially in the workplace, is spreading throughout the West, engaging legal regimes, and broadening the gap between the United States and Europe. Although both of these jurisdictions theoretically are committed to protecting religious freedom and combatting discrimination, their recent judicial developments differ in the values that they prioritize. An employee's right to wear the Islamic headscarf is a very good example. While the United States through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 imposes the accommodation of such a right, the Court of Justice of the European Union has recently affirmed that a company's policy of neutrality can justify general headscarf bans, with virtually no exception. Where the U.S. case law seeks balance, the European Court prioritizes economic activities over religious freedom, neutrality over Islam, and sacrifices pluralism instead of protecting it.
Keywords: Islam, European Union, Court of Justice of the EU, Nondiscrimination, Accommodation
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