However, the hijab doesn’t fit neatly under the bracket of being a “religious symbol”. It’s not the equivalent of a piece of jewellery that displays pride in your faith, and which can easily be concealed to stop people feeling uncomfortable. For its wearers the hijab is a core part of their way of life, linked to the way they choose to practise their faith. It is not up for debate.
By permitting a ban on the hijab, Europe is essentially permitting a ban on Muslim women in the workplace.
Well, oddly enough, the hijab itself isn’t a particularly Muslim thing.
The actual injunction is to dress modestly and different cultures have interpreted this differently. From, roughly speaking, the full burka to just not flashing one’s tits. Hijab refers not to the scarf nor even the head covering, in truth, but to the “modestly”.
I’m actually old enough to recall when it was considered very much not on for a woman to be bare armed in a Catholic Church…..
Now, it might be that the dominant Muslim culture of our times says that the head covering is that necessity for modesty but it’s still not universal. Just as Orthodox Jewish ladies wearing wigs so that only their husbands see their hair is a definitely minority pursuit.
Myself I’m all in favour of this ban upon religious symbols. Yes, this includes the air hostess wearing a crucifix, the Rasta insisting upon dreadlocks and so on, that’s the way the ECJ has written it. Employers are indeed allowed to discriminate among those they would employ. As we’re all allowed to discriminate against employers who do damn fool things. And as Gary Becker pointed out, employers who stupidly do so will lose money. This is a problem best left to the market to solve.
And think what happens if this really is discrimination against Muslim women? Their wages fall I make a fortune by specifically employing only Muslim women. And don’t say it doesn’t happen that way because Dame Stevie Shirley showed outright that it does work.