Casablanca- The legal battle over the Muslim headscarf in France is still ongoing, as an appeal court upheld a nursery’s decision to fire a Moroccan employee for wearing the veil. Meanwhile French government defends the republic’s ban on full-face veils at the European Court of Human Rights, according to AFP.
The case of Fatima Afif started in March 2008 when she was fired because of her refusal to remove the scarf during her work at Baby-Loup nursey in the region of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, northwest of Paris.
Since then Afif sued the nursery for unfair dismissal, but lost the case twice before the French courts in 2010, and in 2011 when Versailles appeal court stated that the internal law of the nursery imposes religious neutrality.
Last March French’s high court ruled in favor of the Moroccan employee, stating that her sacking “constituted discrimination based on religious convictions and must be declared invalid.”
However, the case is re-heard before Paris appeal court, which dismissed Aifif’s appeal on Wednesday. The ruling stated that the Baby-Loup crèche has the right to impose “neutrality on its personnel” because of its “public service mission” and therefore firing the employee “was legal.”
In reaction to the court’s decision, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) condemned the ruling, saying that it is “a real judicial scandal”. The Muslim rights group stated that the verdict conveyed a message that “nobody is protected against being judged by one’s religious, ethnic or social origin”, according to Telegraph.
Meanwhile, European Court of Human rights said yesterday it would examine France’s ban on the full-face veil known as Burqua.
According to France 24, a young woman sued the French government, saying that the ban of the Burqua violates her rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
Ramby De Mello, the woman’s lawyer argued before the court that” wearing a Burqa is not a sign of extremism.”
The woman’s lawyers are seeking to persuade the Strasbourg-based court to deem the French law as essentially discriminatory, according to the same source.
The ruling is expected to take place next year.
Until then, the battle between France’s secular authorities and the large Muslim minority will go on.
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