Press Release: European Court Hijab Ruling Devastating Blow for Human Rights

Islamic Human Rights Commission

10 November 2005

Press Release: European Court Hijab Ruling Devastating Blow for Human Rights

The Islamic Human Rights Commission condemns today’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that Turkey is permitted to ban Muslim women from wearing hijab in universities.

In rejecting Leyla Sahin’s appeal that the ban violated her right to education and discriminated against her, the Court ruled that the ban was justified to maintain order and avoid giving preference to any religion.

The implication is that allowing Muslim women to practice their religion will cause chaos on campus. This irrationality is a sign of seeping Islamophobia which has infected even the European Court of Human Rights – where the fundamental right to practice one’s religion has been seriously undermined.

Arzu Merali, speaking on behalf IHRC today said:

“This is a devastating blow for human rights and justice in Europe today. For a court to uphold the systematic discrimination and exclusion of tens of thousands of women from universities harks back to a mediaeval Europe hell bent on barring women from having education, let alone employment.

“Worse still, the demonisation of Muslim women by this act, legitimises the ever-growing Islamophobia in Europe today, which increasingly mirrors Europe’s descent into genocide in the 1930s. It is indeed a tragic day.”

For more information, please contact IHRC on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 60 74 75 or email [ENDS]

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183