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A regional court in the German state of Hesse ruled Monday that a headscarf ban for women civil servants did not violate the state’s constitution.
The rule, introduced by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in 2004, forbids public servants from wearing articles of clothing that “could endanger confidence in the neutrality of their carrying out their official duties.”
The court voted 6-5 in favour of upholding the ban, which also applies to teachers in Hesse, where the city of Frankfurt is located.
The ruling was in response to a suit filed by lawyer Ute Sacksofsky, who saw the measure as an infringement on the freedom of religion and on equality between the sexes.
The lawyer said Muslim women still had a good chance of having the headscarf ban lifted if they took their case to court.
She said Monday’s judgement by the Hesse High Court applied only to the text of the original law passed by the state government and did not deal with whether Islamic headgear was covered by it.
(Posted on December 13, 2007)