Triple Talaq before the Indian Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India has to decide a case that has captured India’s political, constitutional and social imagination – a challenge to the constitutional validity of triple talaq, a practice that allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife unilaterally simply by uttering the word “talaq” thrice.

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Protection with Hesitation: on the recent CJEU Decisions on Religious Headscarves at Work

The CJEU’s Achbita and Bougnaoui decisions on workplace bans of Islamic headscarves are disappointing as they are not providing enough guidance to the national courts concerning the criteria that they need to take into consideration in their attempts to find a balance between the rights in conflict. The judgments do not provide any criteria for the admissibility of dress codes other than that they should be neutral and objectively justified. Even those terms though are not analysed by the court in a sufficient manner.

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The CJEU’s headscarf decisions: Melloni behind the veil?

On 14 March 2017, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down two landmark judgments on the Islamic headscarf at work. The twin decisions, Achbita and Bougnaoui, were eagerly awaited, not only because of the importance and delicacy of the legal issues the cases raised, but also because the Advocates General had reached different conclusions on those issues in their Opinions.

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Wilders vs. the Dutch Constitution: Constitutional Protection against Discriminatory Policies

Geert Wilders' Freedom Party stands a fair chance of becoming the largest party after the elections next week. His political programme is blurry at best, but parts of it – such as a ban of the Quran – are clearly unconstitutional. Will the constitutional system in the Netherlands be robust enough to withstand this challenge?

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Der Burkini als Technological Fix

Während in ersten öffentlichen Bädern in Deutschland und der Schweiz Burkinis verboten worden sind, befand der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte am 10. Januar 2017, dass der Burkini ein Mittel sein kann, die Teilnahme muslimischer Kinder am koedukativen Schwimmunterricht zu ermöglichen. Der schonende Interessenausgleich, der so erreicht werden konnte, war nur durch diesen Schwimmanzug, der den Charakter eines technischen Konfliktlösungsmittels annimmt, denkbar. Solche technological fixes, die praktische Konkordanz zulassen, stehen auch in anderen Fällen zur Verfügung.

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Can private undertakings hide behind “religious neutrality”?

Is the pursuit of religious neutrality an acceptable aim for public and private organisations alike, on the basis of which they may prohibit their employees from wearing religious signs or apparel whilst at work? In two pending cases before the CJEU, the Advocates General seem to arrive at opposite conclusions on this point. To solve this puzzle, I think it is crucial to see that there are two radically different reasons why a private-sector company may wish to adopt an identity of religious neutrality, which reflect two distinct types of interest a company may have in religious neutrality: a business interest and an interest as a member of society.

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Gemeindemitglied wider Willen: Leipzig beugt sich Karlsruhe und zeigt in Richtung Straßburg

In Deutschland kann man in eine Religionsgemeinschaft eingemeindet werden, der man niemals beitreten wollte. Glaubensfreiheit hin oder her – das geht. So heute das Bundesverwaltungsgericht in einem Urteil, das einen der sonderbarsten religionsverfassungsrechtlichen Streitigkeiten seit langem vorläufig beendet und gleichzeitig die Treue zum Bundesverfassungsgericht vor die eigenen Überzeugungen zur Auslegung der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention stellt.

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Islam on the Beach – The Burkini Ban in France

In 1964, a young woman wearing a monokini played table tennis on the Croisette, the famous road along the shore in the city of Cannes. She was sentenced for outraging public decency. Half a century later, the mayor of Cannes just banned on his beaches the burkini, a full-body swimsuit weared by some Muslim women. Some other coastal cities followed, one administrative tribunal confirmed, and a new controversy around the keyword “laïcité” was born. It seems to me that the burkini-ban is a legal error and a political mistake.

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Kopftuchverbot am Arbeitsplatz als Diskriminierung

Ein pauschales Kopftuchverbot am Arbeitsplatz, so EuGH-Generalanwältin Eleanor Sharpston, ist diskriminierungsrechtlich kaum zu rechtfertigen. Dabei möchte die Generalanwältin den Fall offenbar zum Anlass nehmen, ein paar sehr grundsätzliche Dinge zum Verbot unmittelbarer Diskriminierung im Europarecht klar zu stellen.

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