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Turkey condemns EU court ruling on headscarf ban as violation of freedoms

WorldJul 18, 2021 04:10AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The towers of the Court of Justice of the European Union are seen in Luxembourg, January 26, 2017. Picture taken January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey on Sunday slammed a ruling by a top European Union court allowing the banning of headscarves under certain conditions as a "clear violation of religious freedoms", adding the move would exacerbate prejudices against Muslim women in Europe.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled on Thursday that companies in the bloc can ban employees from wearing a headscarf under certain conditions, if they need to do so to project an image of neutrality to customers.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement the ruling was a sign of rising Islamophobia at a time when it said Muslim women in Europe are being subjected to increasing discrimination for their religious beliefs.

"The CJEU decision, at a time when the Islamophobia, racism and hatred that have taken Europe hostage are rising, disregards religious freedom and creates a basis and legal cover for discrimination," the ministry said.

On Saturday, the Turkish presidency's communication director Fahrettin Altun condemned the move, saying "this wrong decision is an attempt to grant legitimacy to racism."

The issue of the hijab, the traditional headscarf worn around the head and shoulders, has been divisive across Europe for years, underlining sharp differences over integrating Muslims.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party, which came to power in 2002 blending a pro-Western, democratic market approach, has been criticised by Western allies in recent years for increasing authoritarianism and religious intolerance. The United States, Greece, Russia and church leaders expressed concern last year over his government's move to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque last year.

Ankara has repeatedly accused European nations of not doing enough to prevent discrimination against Muslims, saying it will start publishing an annual report on what it calls examples of Islamophobia around the world.

In response to whether headscarf bans at work represented a violation of the freedom of religion, the CJEU said such bans were possible if justified by an employer's need to present a neutral image.

Ties between Ankara and the bloc have been strained over a host of issues, namely over a dispute between EU member Greece and Turkey over maritime jurisdiction and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey condemns EU court ruling on headscarf ban as violation of freedoms
 

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Comments (2)
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jul 18, 2021 12:27PM ET
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Flip flop is ban in most erea. Certain area is forbid u to wear what u want. Example if u operate in a clean up, or weaving machines, u cant wear long dress,etc
Honey Badger
Honey Badger Jul 18, 2021 7:58AM ET
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Its violation of freedoms why countries will dictate people what to wears. Its simply extreme actions by states. Are we planning to go back 100years?
craivan iulian
craivan iulian Jul 18, 2021 7:58AM ET
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couldn't agree to you more,and should apply to all countries! Turkey, UAE and Saudi Arabia including
She Ben
She Ben Jul 18, 2021 7:58AM ET
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Some countries dictate that the women should be fully covered. Truly back a 100 years or more. This Is a violation of freedom Zaheer Ahmed. Go back there if you want to be covered and enjoy their ‘freedom’.
 
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