If there was any doubt that Muslims were not welcome in Europe it has now been set into law by the European Court of Justice. The decision by EU judges to allow employers to ban staff from wearing the hijab, comes on the back of a decades long growing movement to limit Muslim women wearing headscarves. Now the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, has weighed in by opening the door to anti-Muslim prejudice, forcing Muslim women to choose between their values or having a job.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign”. The court gave a judgement in the cases of two women, in France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove their hijabs. The intellectual gymnastics being used to justify the ban would be laughable if the issue was not so serious. So long as companies ban all hijab wearing women, this would not be considered discriminatory.
The hijab ban, disguised under a ban on religious, philosophical and political symbols is now the latest in a long list of sacred cows that have been slaughtered -ironically in defence of Western values. We are openly witnessing the slaying of a Western value system which has found it difficult to deal or adapt to the new challenges of the international environment. The very European leaders that pit themselves against supposedly misogynistic and regressive societies in the Muslim world have no qualms in applying discriminatory policies towards Muslim women in their own countries.
Alongside this is the suspension of the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and the right to be aware of the evidence that is being used to imprison someone. These have all been abandoned to the political dustbin, when they were apparently the bedrock of Western political tradition. In defence of Western values we have seen Guantanamo Bay, Belmarsh, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, the Patriot Act, anti-terrorism legislation of all guises, stop and search, internment, torture, sexual humiliation, executive ordered arrests, detention without trial, rendition of suspects to despotic regimes and brutal interrogations.
Until recently many politicians justified anti-Muslim legislation under national security concerns. However, today the hijab, a piece of cloth so threatens Western civilisation that legislators have to single out Muslim women and ban them from wearing a piece of cloth. When 2017 becomes part of history and a future generation looks back at this year, to make sense of what was taking place, they will see Western civilisation defending itself by discriminating against Muslim women, who posed such a colossal civilisational challenge, merely by the clothing wrapped around their heads.