So yesterday the European court ruled that employers will be allowed to ban employees from wearing headscarves – and it is not discrimination.
The premise of this is that there is nothing wrong with it if the company already had a policy in place which states that all of its employees should be neutral and should not display or wear any religious symbols. Therefore, if employers ban Muslim women working for them from wearing the headscarf then it is not classed as discrimination because it is part of a generic ban.
The problem is that although the headscarf essentially is a religious symbol – that is not the purpose of it nor the reason for wearing it.
Muslim women wear the hijab because of their beliefs, not solely to display the religion they follow. It is non-Muslims who see the hijab as a religious ‘symbol’ and it has been described as a political and ideological symbols as well. This is all irrelevant for the Muslim women who chose to wear the hijab because for us it is simply a part of our beliefs. We do not wear the hijab solely to tell everyone that we are Muslim – that is simply a byproduct of it.
Although there is some differing opinions within Islam, Muslims generally believe that it is compulsory for Muslim women to wear a headscarf as part of the hijab – the garments covering our whole bodies. For Muslim women, wearing a headscarf is a part of our modesty. For Muslim women who choose to cover their hair, being told that they have to show their hair is like telling a non-Muslim woman that they have to show a part of their body which they would never normally reveal.
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear therof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms…”
If Muslim women are working at companies which now have the legal backing to ban employees from wearing a headscarf, what decision are they faced with? Quit or go against their beliefs? Perhaps it is the only place they could get a job; perhaps their household relies on their income.
What about the Sikhs and Jews who wear visible religious symbols? Is Europe forgetting its history and trying to wipe out any images it doesn’t like because of its ‘otherness’…
If a Christian is not allowed to wear a visible cross – not only can they wear it discreetly under clothing, but even by not wearing one at all they are not going against any commandments that they believe in.
The religion, or lack of, which is native to this country and Europe in general is essentially not affected at all by this ban. However, religions which have originated from other countries and have become a part of European countries mostly due to migration, are heavily affected.
That is why it is in fact complete discrimination.
If Muslim women stay at home and do not work, society condemns them for not integrating outside their community. If Muslim women go out to work; we are told what to wear which directly conflicts with what we believe in. That is oppression.
Hiding behind a ban on all religious symbols might fool some people but it is a farce.
There are women who wear a headscarf purely on a cultural basis but because this is associated with Islam would they be made to remove it? Are people not allowed to display any of their cultural background or heritage? Are people not allowed to display any identity which differs slightly from the white and now predominantly atheist identity of this continent?
Where does it end? Will there be ‘generic bans’ on religious symbols on public transport; in shops; in all public places? This has set a precedence which could become very dangerous and frightening.