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Germany court affirms teacher headscarf ban

[JURIST] A German state administrative court affirmed a ban on religious headscarves [JURIST news archive] in the federal district of North Rhine-Westphalia [government website] Tuesday, rejecting a teacher's argument that her headscarf was merely a "fashion accessory" and ruling that it was a symbol of her religious belief. In June, the same court upheld the ban [JURIST report], saying that the public display of religious dress by a teacher violated secular neutrality toward the religions of students and parents. The court has also ruled that a headdress ban in North Rhine-Westphalia prohibits teachers from wearing berets.

Headscarves are prohibited in eight of 16 states in Germany. Last July, a court in Baden-Wuerttemberg [government website] struck down a 2004 ban [JURIST report], ruling it was being enforced in a discriminatory manner [JURIST report] because the ban was not applied to Catholic nuns. In January, a similar law in Bavaria [government website] was upheld [JURIST report] on the grounds that the headscarf, as opposed to other religious markings, is only worn by women and therefore its wearing mitigates against gender equality guarantees in the Bavarian state constitution [text]. Reuters has more.

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