Today the European Court of Justice (ECJ), a fine institute, ruled over a case that had been pending for nearly 10 years.
It concerns a woman who was fired for wearing a headscarf at work. She claimed to have been unlawfully discriminated against. The ECJ ruled that she had not and that companies had the right to ban: “any political, philosophical or religious sign” (such as headscarves) and that this need not constitute direct discrimination.” But they added: “the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to dress neutrally.”
The truth of the matter is that this ruling on religious, political and philosophical ‘signs’ at work is a symptom of a much larger issue. Namely, that more than half a century since the first groups of Muslim migrants came to Western Europe there is still a clash between two different civilisations. Maybe more than ever, the Muslims who have grown in number are also more confident than ever. While the populations of various European countries do not like the Islamic model of civilisation and probably never will. Inaction by politicians to implement a shared set of values in public spaces such as schools has added to the problem.
The ‘headscarf ruling’ is nothing more than a symptom of Europe’s inability, and also the Western Muslims inability, to find common understanding.
The question that remains after today is whether between these two models of civilisation there is a bridge of common principles which will facilitate future co-existence.
I don’t think that allowing employers to ban headscarves solves anything in this regard, it might even make our common problems worse.
Feature image credits: here