European Court of Human Rights rules in favor of headscarf ban in France

Published 29.11.2015 10:17
Updated 29.11.2015 12:07
emReuters Photo/em
Reuters Photo

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has unanimously upheld France's headscarf ban in a case brought by a French Muslim social worker sacked in 2000 for wearing a religious veil, amid concerns about the rise of Islamophobia throughout Europe, especially in France.

The case was brought by Christiane Ebrahimian in 2011, now 64, a social worker at the psychiatric department at a public hospital in Nanterre.

Back in 2000, the hospital refused to renew Ebrahimian's contract "on account of her refusal to remove her headgear and following complaints from patients" the ECHR said.

On Oct. 17, 2002, France's Administrative Court found that the hospital's decision "had been in accordance with the principles of secularism and neutrality of public services".

The ruling was upheld in 2004 and 2005 by both the Paris and Versailles Administrative Courts of Appeal.

Europe's top court ruled on Thursday the ban did not violate Article 9 [right to freedom of religion] of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In 2014, a Strasbourg court turned down an appeal against France's ban on the burqa, which was passed in 2010.

The burqa ban had received serious criticism for infringing individual freedoms, including freedom of religion and expression.

France's 1905 secularism law bans public employees from displaying religious beliefs at work. In 2004, the law was extended to ban students from wearing any "conspicuous signs" of religion, such as headscarves, skullcaps or crucifixes at schools.

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