Muslim Association of Britain slams European Court of Justice advice on religious clothing ban

Muslim Association of Britain spokeman slams European Court of Justice advocate-general's opinion on religious clothing ban

Companies might soon be able to ban employees from wearing the hijab and other religious garments

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) has said that a potential ban on headscarves in the workplace sends the wrong message and could "marginalise more and more Muslims". 

Omer El-Hamdoon was speaking on talkRADIO after an advocate general to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) suggested that companies should be able to prevent staff from wearing religious clothing. 

Juliane Kokott, of the ECJ, revealed her reading of the issue after a Belgian court sought clarification in a case surrounding a Muslim woman who was fired for wearing a headscarf to work against her company’s rules. Samira Achbita sued the Belgian division of security company G4S. 

Kokott, whose opinion is not a binding ruling, said that companies should be entitled to prevent staff from wearing any garments which make a religious, political or philosophical statement.

She added that companies should have a legitimate reason for banning religious symbols, but conceded that the "bar for justifying differences of treatment based on religion is high, but not insurmountable".

El-Hamdoon expressed his concerns about the advice.

"It would have serious implications on wider society," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "We are trying to provide an image of Islam which is compatible with British life, European life. 

"These rulings marginalise more and more Muslims and send the wrong message to Muslim youths.

"It's almost like pushing them away from living in Europe.

"This shouldn't be the case. She [Achbita] should have the choice to wear the hijab."