The Veil Remains Forbidden for Bavarian Teachers

The Islamic veil remains forbidden for Bavarian teachers. On Monday January 15, in Munic, the state constitutional tribunal rejected the appeal of an islamic religious community, originally from Berlin, to revoke the 2005 law that forbids the veil for teachers in the Bavarian schools. Arguing that the law restricts religious liberty and goes against the principle of equality, the plaintants denounced a situation where nuns are permitted to teach in their habit but women who wear the veil are not. The tribunal followed the arguments of the Bavarian governmnet, which considered the nun’s habit to be compatible with the fundamental values and the educational objectives of Bavarian law. The debate is far from over. In 2006, the administrative tribunal of Stuttgart rescinded the legislation of Baden-Wurtemburg, upholding the argument of a teacher who denounced the treatment of veiled teachers as unequal. In Bavaria, the battle could begin again. The Munich tribunal upheld the Bavarian legislation without making an explicit statement on the headscarf.

In its turn, Berlin opposes the full veil

While the debate rages across Europe over the possibility of forbidding the Islamic veil, the CDU German minister of the Interior and EU president-elect, Wolfgang Schaueble, has chosen his camp. “I am against the burqa, because it impedes all communication,” he said yesterday. The German government, which has been silent thus far on the question of the veil, now places itself on the side of Jack Straw and Romano Prodi, who both oppose the full face veil, which, unlike the hijab, covers all but a woman’s eyes. Tolerance of the hijab remains the rule in Germany, despite several lawsuits in Bavaria and Baden-Wurtemburg in the past several years. Today, it is the state of Berlin that has the strictest legislation in the country. The hijab is forbidden here throughout the administration. But just as it does not intervene in the regional affairs of its country, the German government will not intervene on the European scale either. The presidency has no intention to legislate on this subject, nor to harmonize the various European laws, which remain quite dissimilar despite a recent trend towards forbidding the veil.

What is the Head Under the Scarf Thinking?

The first representative study of scarf-wearing Muslim women shows: they are pretty normal women. Muslim women seem to feel that everything has been said with regards to the headscarf. It has been eight years since the state of Baden-Wurtemburg refused to allow teaching candidate Fereshda Ludin to wear her hair-covering while acting as an official of the government. In the folowing years great controversy has raged over the alleged danger of an Islamist seizure of power in the German courts, talkshows, and newspapers. Politically the case is decided: almost all states have issued prohibitions of the headscarf. After the plaintiff’s success, the legal confrontation against the new national dress ordinances is going to the next round.