Bavarian Court Upholds Islamic Headscarf Ban for Magistrates, Defends Courtroom Crosses

Bavarian Court Upholds Islamic Headscarf Ban for Magistrates, Defends Courtroom Crosses

The presence of crosses in Bavarian courtrooms does not compromise the supposed neutrality of magistrates, according to the state’s top court.

The Constitutional Court of the German state of Bavaria has reaffirmed the state’s ban on headscarves for judges and prosecutors just as a conservative politician is calling for a nation-wide “burqa ban” for girls under 14.

In a ruling on Monday, Bavaria’s top court also defended the presence of crosses in courtrooms declaring them to be an entirely different matter not relevant to the expected neutrality of the magistrates.

The Constitutional Court in Germany’s second most populous state rejected an appeal by a Muslim religious community against the law preventing judges and prosecutors from wearing headscarves, DW reported.

It argued that justice officials were under the obligation to be neutral with respect to religion and ideology.

The headscarf ban for magistrates in Bavaria also forbids judges and prosecutors from wearing other religious symbols during court proceedings such as crosses, kippas, or yarmulkes.

The ruling states that the ban on headscarves and other symbols for magistrates does not violate the laws on religious freedom or equality.

The Muslim religious community had argued that both laws were violated by the headscarf ban since Bavarian courtrooms feature the Christian symbol of the cross.

Bavaria’s top court ruled, however, that the presence of courtroom crosses was not comparable to religious symbols worn by magistrates since it was determined by court administration, and did not affect the neutrality of individual magistrates.

According to the ruling, the headscarf ban does not discriminate against women because it also forbids religious symbols or clothing items worn by men.

The ruling of Bavaria’s Constitutional Court comes as Carsten Linnemann, deputy leader of the parliamentary group of Germany’s ruling conservative party CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU has renewed a call to introduce a “burqa ban” in all of Germany for girls under 14 years of age.

Linnemann told the Rheinische Post daily on Monday that girls should be entitled to the same freedoms as boys growing up.

The conservative politician has been advocating stricter integration policies for migrants for immigrants in Germany. He recently co-edited an anthology entitled “Political Islam Does Not Belong in Germany”.

In 2018, the government of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, announced a plan for a law forbidding girls under 14 from wearing headscarves at school to be put in place by the end of 2019.

There are partial “burqa bans” already in place in many of Germany’s states, for example, for teachers and civil servants referring to full-face Islamic veils.

Other EU member states with full or partial “burqa bans” are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, and France.

(Banner image: Pixabay)

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