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German state court rejects headscarf ban

[JURIST] A court in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg [official website] Friday threw out a ban on women teachers wearing religious headscarves [JURIST news archive]. The case originated when Baden-Wuerttemberg passed a law [JURIST report] in 2004 forbidding "outward expressions that undermine the neutrality of the government or peace between political and religious creeds in school," but which reportedly did not apply to Catholic nuns wearing veils in public schools. Baden-Wuerttemberg argued that public school teachers needed to show political and religious neutrality, but the Baden-Wuerttemberg administrative tribunal felt that the legislation was discriminatory because it applied to Muslim women wearing headscarves and not Catholic nuns.

Though the Baden-Wuerttemberg court found discrimination in the legislation because Catholic nuns wore veils, Germany's Federal Administrative Court [official website] ruled in 2004 that the legislation also applies to Catholic nuns [JURIST report], requiring them to remove their religious symbols before entering the classroom as well. Deutsche Press Agentur has more.

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