Response to ECJ Ruling on Headscarves
In response to the ruling of the European Court of Justice on the wearing of headscarves a Church of England spokesman said:
“This ruling raises significant questions about freedom of religion and its free expression. Whether it be Sikhism and the wearing of turbans and kara through to the wearing of a cross.
“In preferencing ‘freedom to conduct a business” above the free expression of faith the ruling potentially places corporate interest above those of the individual.
Equally troubling is the assumption of “neutrality” within the ruling. The imposition of blanket bans – whilst often seeking honourable outcomes – may represent a worldview based on dogmatic or ideological assumptions which may unjustly limit individual rights.”
The Rt Revd Nicholas Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, said:
“It is important that we study this ruling in more detail and work out its implications in different scenarios and for different groups in society. Inevitably, this judgement once again raises vital questions about freedom of expression (not just freedom of religion), and shows that the denial of freedom of religion is not a neutral act, contrary to how it might be portrayed. There is no neutral space. Furthermore, it illustrates how far we have to go as a secular society in working out what freedom of expression actually means.
“Secondly, it once again illustrates the problem in a ‘rights culture’ of whose rights take priority in the hierarchy when rights collide – and according to which criteria they should be judged.
“There is clearly more work to be done in relation to religious literacy.”