This was a piece I wrote a few weeks ago but for some reason ‘disappeared’ off the website ! Anyway, it’s back now and ready for sharing.
The piece was a response to the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling that two Muslim women – one in Belgium, the other in France – who were dismissed by their employers for wearing headscarves did not suffer direct discrimination. If you want to read it in full at its original home, then click here. If not, then just read on:
Does the European ruling on religious clothing suggest a move towards a more Islamophobic stance?
Last month the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled two Muslim women, one in Belgium, the other in France, who were dismissed by their employers for wearing headscarves did not suffer direct discrimination. This was on the basis that employers are within their rights to ban visible political or religious clothing and symbols in the workplace as long as it is part of a requirement for all staff to dress ‘neutrally’.
This is contrary to an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights upholding the rights of employees to display religious symbols at work. The ECJ ruling has been interpreted by some as Islamophobic, given the ramifications will likely impact Muslim employees due to their Islamic clothing and symbols being seen as far more objectionable and less neutral than clothes and symbols associated with other religious traditions.
The decision also prompts debates about the extent to which views that were formerly the preserve of the far-right about Muslims and Islam have begun to shape and inform the political and policy mainstream thereby having the potential for Islamophobia to become increasingly unquestioned and worryingly ‘normal’.
For more than a decade now, Europe’s far-right milieu has been shifting their ideological focus away from the historical ‘threat’ posed by Jews and Judaism to the contemporary equivalent presented by Muslims and Islam. Citing the alleged ‘Islamification’ of certain European cities – of which the greater visibility of Muslim women has been a recurrent discourse – the argument goes that Muslims will eventually destroy the very nation states that in the words of the far-right had generously sought to afford them a new home. For the far-right, it’s all part of the ‘Islamic invasion’.
To read on, click here.