Press Releases

CAIR Condemns EU Court’s Ruling Against Workplace Religious Rights

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/14/17) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a ruling by the European Court of Justice that allows employers to prohibit the Muslim head scarf (hijab) and other religious “signs” in the workplace.

According to that non-binding ruling, “An internal rule. . .which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination.”

SEE: Europe Has Started to Enshrine Islamophobia Into Law – History Tells Us This Can’t End Well

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

“It is clear to any thinking person that this ruling, like the discriminatory laws enacted in a number of European nations, will be used to target Muslim employees exclusively. This unjust ruling violates international norms of religious freedom and will serve to further marginalize European Muslims – particularly Muslim women seeking economic empowerment.

“This Islamophobic ruling is based on an extremist interpretation of secularism, not on universal values of justice. Europe should follow America’s example of religious freedom and inclusion.”

[NOTE: Any ban on religious “signs” could theoretically include Jewish skullcaps, Sikh turbans and Christian crosses, but such measures have been viewed as focusing primarily on Europe’s Muslim population.]

He said that CAIR has successfully challenged many such denials of workplace religious rights such as attire and prayer by American employers and that CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.

SEE: An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

CAIR Welcomes Rulings Granting Benefits to Fired Muslim Cargill Workers in Colorado

Awad noted that just yesterday, CAIR came to the defense of a Maryland Muslim student who was prevented from playing in a basketball game because of her religious head scarf, or hijab.

SEE: CAIR Encourages Policy Change, Diversity Training After Maryland Muslim Student Barred from Game Over Hijab  

The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at:    

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,

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