World Bulletin / News Desk
An education company in Austria has banned its staff from wearing visible religious symbols following the decision of the EU’s top court to allow such a block, local media said Wednesday.
BFI, which runs around a dozen vocational colleges across the country, said it had banned its employees from wearing “every kind of visible” religious symbol, the Kleine Zeitung newspaper reported.
In an interview hours after the European Court of Justice said it did not constitute “direct discrimination” to ban the wearing of any “political, philosophical or religious sign”, company executive Wilhelm Techt said his staff would comply with “Western culture”.
He told the newspaper: “We should transfer Western culture and values without misunderstandings. Therefore, educators have to work in Western clothes.”
He added that BFI numbered around 1,000 asylum seekers among its thousands of students. It has around 430 teaching staff, according to the company’s website.
Although the ruling applies to all outward signs of political or religious affiliation, Muslims have described the court’s ruling as a direct attack on women wearing the hijab, or headscarf.
Ibrahim Olgun, head of the Austrian Islamic Society, said the decision would reduce the number of Muslim women in the workplace.
“There will be a serious discrimination against Muslim women,” he said. “We see the reflections of this in the BFI example. The decision will exclude our women who wear headscarves from society.”
The judgment came in the cases of two women in France and Belgium, dating back to 2008 and 2003 respectively, who were dismissed for refusing to remove their hijabs at work.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has written about a meeting he has had with Muslim students from Dearbon, Michigan (USA).
Behavior 'unacceptable', education department says
Head of anti-discrimination agency says many hijab-wearing women face discrimination at work and in social life
Suspected members of right-wing Hindu group accuse Muslim man of helping neighbor marry Hindu girl before they kill him
Mob of 100 led by ultra-nationalist monks could have destroyed or torched madrasahs, says school leader
The new law on facial coverings falls short of a total ban in public places demanded by right-wing parties, like that in effect in neighbouring France since 2011.
Eurosceptic party UKIP says election campaign move is not an attack on Muslims, but about integration
Canadian imam receives death threat; Islamic centre set on fire
University of Texas at Dallas police chief calls incident 'very rare and strange'
Sheila Abdus-Salaam was found floating, fully clothed, in the water near uptown Manhattan several hours after she was reported missing from her home in Harlem.
A Birmingham mosque gave the right answer back to the “hatred and division” of an English Defence League rally by hosting a “best of British” tea party
If we want to leave a better world for our children, we must leave our fears about Muslims aside: Kristina Palten
Austria, a nation of 8.7 million people, has received more than 130,000 asylum applications since 2015 following the onset of the European Union's biggest migration crisis since World War II.
Islamophobic incidents rose 62 percent in 2016 compared to previous year, says Muslim group
'Hostility, insecurity and dissonance towards minorities in Europe must be resolved' says Turkish presidential advisor
School board will continue to offer Friday prayers for Muslim students