EU court says public employees may be barred from wearing head scarf
The top European Union court ruled on Tuesday that public authorities in member states can prohibit employees from wearing signs of religious belief, such as an Islamic head scarf, in the latest decision on an issue that has divided Europe for years.
The case came to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after an employee of the eastern Belgian municipality of Ans was told she could not wear an Islamic head scarf at work.
The municipality subsequently changed its terms of employment to require its employees to observe strict neutrality by not wearing overt signs of religious or ideological belief.
The woman concerned launched a legal challenge, saying her right to freedom of religion had been infringed.
The hijab, the traditional head scarf worn around the head and shoulders, has been a divisive issue across Europe for years.