Briefing now available on-line: Good Practice on the Headscarf in Europe

Islamic Human Rights Commission

17th March 2004

Briefing now available on-line: Good Practice on the Headscarf in Europe

IHRC’s latest briefing looks at the examples of good practice in various European countries regarding the headscarf.

The briefing looks at how governments and courts have not only incorporated human rights law effectively into their policies and decisions, but institutions, including schools and police forces have dealt with the issue in recent years.

The briefing looks at:

1. UK
2. Ireland
3. Italy
4. Norway
5. Sweden
6. Denmark
7. Belgium
8. Austria
9. Germany
10. Spain
11. Netherlands

It concludes that:

“Governments must show a willingness to change existing rules and laws – in this case current dress codes – in order to adapt to cultural practices that are considered crucial for the identity of minorities. By its active and accommodating attitude the government shows that it wants to go beyond ‘passive’ toleration based on the principle of non-interference (‘laissez-faire’) that leads to ‘a mere modus vivendi’ between minority and majority groups.

Through such accommodating policies the governments will make it clear that they do not expect minorities to give up their ethnic, cultural or religious identity as a precondition of equal citizenship, and that demands of equal citizenship can be combined with particular ethnic, cultural or religious commitments.”

To read the briefing on-line please visit:
or click on the link below

or for more information or a copy of the briefing sent by email, please contact, or call (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 60 74 75 or email

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

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