Thu, Sep. 25, 2003

Teacher with Headscarf at Public Schools

EW - Washington.   On September 24, 2003, the German Supreme Court in Karlsruhe decided the case of a muslim whose application for an appointment to the position of a teacher in a public school was denied by the State of Baden-Württemberg. The state based its rejection on the doctrine of neutrality of the state. Fereshta Ludin, a German of Afghan origin, argued that her constitutional right to religious freedom should prevail and insisted on keeping her head covered also in class.

The highest court in Germany ruled that a muslim teacher enjoys the constituonal right to wear a headscarf in class, deciding its second key case involving neutrality and religion. Thereby, the court put an end to an ongoing discussion on how to solve the conflict between the right to religious freedom and the imperative of neutrality, both codified in the German Constitution. It also ruled, however, that the states may pass new laws banning the practice.

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