The Constitutional Court of Hungary [official website] repealed a village ban on the construction of mosques as well as headscarves like burkas and chadors worn by Muslim women on Wednesday. The village of Asotthalom, located on the Serbian boarder, implemented implemented the law in November. The village also outlawed muezzins, men who call Muslims to prayer from the minaret of a mosque. In its ruling [AP report] the court said the bans were aimed to limit freedoms of religion and speech. Village leaders said the ordinance was linked to the European Union’s [official website] plan to resettle asylum-seekers and to maintain the villages “community and traditions.” Prior to Hungary building walls along their boarders with Serbia and Croatia, the village of Asotthalom was used as an entry point to Western Europe for refugees.
Full-coverage veils have been the recent subject of legislation and adjudication in Europe. In February Bavaria approved [JURIST report] a partial ban on full-face veils in certain public spaces. Later that month the Turkish Ministry of Defense [official website, in Turkish] announced that female soldiers will be allowed to wear headscarves along with their uniforms. In December German Chancellor Angela Merkel on endorsed [JURIST report] a partial ban on burqas and niqabs, saying that “the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever is legally possible.” Also in December the Netherlands legislature voted in favor [JURIST report] of a partial burka ban. However, in July the EU’s highest court ruled in favor [JURIST report] of a French woman who was fired for wearing a head scarf.