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CAIR Condemns EU Court Decision Allowing Companies to Ban Hijab, Expresses Solidarity with European Muslim Community

(WASHINGTON D.C., 7/15/2021) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a decision by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) allowing companies to ban hijabs (Islamic head scarves) and expressed American Muslim solidarity with the European Muslim community.  

SEE: Top EU court rules hijab can be banned at work

On Thursday, the Luxembourg-based ECJ ruled on cases brought by two Muslim women in Germany who were suspended from their jobs after they started wearing a hijab. The women were told by their respective employers that they were not allowed to wear Islamic attire, and were at different times suspended and told not to come to work wearing them.  

The ECJ ruled that employers may prohibit the wearing of visible “political, philosophical, or religious” symbols if they need to present a “neutral image towards customers or to prevent social disputes.” 

Hijab bans have been a source of controversy in Germany, whose 5 million Muslims make up the largest religious minority in the country. France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, banned the wearing of hijabs in state schools in 2004, and in 2014 a French court upheld the dismissal of a Muslim daycare worker for wearing a hijab at a private nursery with strict neutrality regulations.  

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: 

“The freedom to practice one’s faith, including by wearing a hijab in the workplace, is a fundamental human right. Today’s decision by this European court infringes on the religious liberty of European Muslims and represents the latest example in a disturbing pattern of global Islamophobia. We stand in solidarity with the European Muslim community as they work to address this unjust, irrational and bigoted ruling.” 

He said CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace. 

CAIR: An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

Awad noted that CAIR has repeatedly opposed bans on hijabs and other religious symbols.  

SEE: CAIR Calls on U.S. Religious Freedom Commission (USCIFR) to Probe France’s Anti-Religion Laws and ‘Collective Punishment’ of French Muslim Community\

CAIR-GA: More Than 5,500 Americans Call on Georgia Governor to Lift State Agency’s Hijab Ban  

CAIR Calls on FIBA to Permanently Lift Basketball Hijab Ban  

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.        

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.      

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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,    

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