The debate on multiculturalism and human rights in Europe was reignited in 2004 by the Islamic headscarf ban in France. The legal and political tensions thrown up by this debate are now being witnessed in many European states. The place of religion in schools in general, and wearing of religious dress in State schools in particular, has become an issue across Europe. Supporters of the right to wear the Islamic headscarf argue that the ban and similar prohibitions infringe a number of human rights. This book examines the issues by considering questions of language, meaning and symbolism. In doing so it identifies the debates behind the debates. Detailed consideration is given to the headscarf debate in France. Comparative practice in a number of European states - Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Turkey - is examined. Brief consideration is also given to a number of non-European states. The book also outlines the role and function of an international human rights law approach to the Islamic headscarf.
It concludes with some wider reflections on the broader political and cultural struggles that lie behind the Islamic headscarf debate. This wider frame of analysis reveals the deeper significance of the Islamic headscarf bans.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC