National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM) express in no uncertain terms our condemnation of European Court of Justice’s latest ruling on the wearing of headscarves at the workplace in Europe. It is a grave concern for all Muslims and religious minorities that despite previous rhetorics of tolerance, inclusivity and openness, European institutions retain their inherent anti-religious views that would undermine religious minorities’ freedom of expression.Such a verdict also serves to confirm everyone’s belief that European legal and political institutions are still mired in a traditional outlook of ‘maintaining religious and political neutrality’ despite the fact that such claims of ‘neutrality’ is against basic individual freedoms to religious expression.Further, the headscarves should not also be seen as mere ‘symbol of religious expression’, but it goes deeper as a religious obligation that cannot be exchanged for ‘workplace rules’ prohibiting women from wearing them. It is our concern that if such ruling is maintained and upheld by other national courts within the European Union, it will actively discriminate against religious minorities’ ability to attain professional success in any workplace.
Thus, we would like to call upon the legal and political institutions within Europe to refrain from such acts of discrimination against religious minorities who are required to wear their religious symbols as religious obligations. These institutions should be a bulwark against the rise of narrow nationalism of some of its political fringes, and not to become the enabler for these ‘illiberal’ and destructive forces that can destroy the very fabric of European multiculturalism and democracy.
Say no to discrimination.
Awang Syazuan Shafiq Bin Awang Jaya
National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM)