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Berlin court insists on headscarf ban

– Labour court rules against Muslim primary school teacher who wanted to wear her headscarf at work

By Ayhan Simsek BERLIN (AA) – A Berlin court ruled on Wednesday against a Muslim primary school teacher who wanted to wear her headscarf at work. The labour court argued that the school administration’s decision to not allow the teacher to wear a headscarf was in conformity with the Berlin’s “neutrality law”, which prohibits public employees, including teachers, police and justice officials from wearing religious symbols. “The neutrality law does not violate the constitutional provisions,” the court argued in a press release, and noted that primary school administration has asked the teacher to work at a high school, where such restrictions were not in place. In 2015, a major ruling of Germany’s Constitutional Court had annulled a “general ban” on teachers wearing headscarves, and ruled that such a ban could only be imposed if a teacher’s headscarf creates a controversy, and threatens the peaceful environment at a school. However, Berlin is among the few federal states which insists on prohibiting headscarves for teachers working at primary schools. Although several German states ban headscarf for teachers, the country has no law banning Muslim female students from wearing headscarves in schools or universities. In Germany, where nearly 4.7 million Muslims live, religious freedoms are protected by the German Constitution. However, Muslim women who wear headscarves have faced an increasing level of discrimination in recent years amid a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments, triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties which have exploited the refugee crisis.

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