The Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO) has issued a statement calling for a revision of a judgment by the European Court of Justice that allowed employers to ban religious symbols in the workplace. According to the statement on the FEMYSO website:
July 16, 2021 At FEMYSO, we are utterly outraged at the political decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which once again gives a free pass to employers to ban the Islamic headscarf. This is nothing less than a blatant reduction of the rights of visibly Muslim women in the EU, and thus nothing less than the institutionalisation of Islamophobia.
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FEMYSO alleged the decision prioritized the interests of employers and those of prejudiced customers, saying it provided a “legal basis” for further discrimination against Muslim Women in the job market. The group also called on the EU and its institutions to recognize the “impact of Islamophobia on its citizens” and to work alongside civil society to tackle the problem.
However, according to widespread European media reporting, the court ruling says a ban must be justified by the “employer’s need to present itself in a neutral manner to customers or to prevent social conflicts” and that individual countries’ circumstances may be taken into account, including protection of religion. The ECJ ruling also says the ban does not constitute discrimination if it is systematically applied to all beliefs, even if some religious precepts require believers to wear a certain type of dress, but a limited ban such as “the wearing of a large conspicuous garment or sign, such as a head covering” could amount to discrimination.
FEMYSO is the youth/student arm of the Council of European Muslims, known to represent the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. In recent times, its leadership has been drawn from the families of important Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) leaders. Almost all of the FEMYSO member organizations are also tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Over the years, FEMYSO has developed relationships with the Council of Europe, the European Commission, and many other significant organizations at the European and international levels. FEMYSO has long been active in campaigning against veiling bans on the national and supranational levels. In January 2021, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO had issued a statement praising a decision to allow religious clothing in Higher Education in the Wallonia-Brussels region. In April 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that the group’s leaders had pushed a viral social media campaign protesting a proposal by the French senate to ban minors from wearing the hijab in public spaces.
Other GIOR reporting on FEMYSO has included:
- In October 2020, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO’s President participated in a virtual meeting attended by many key organizations of the GMB.
- In October 2020, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO was among a group of civil society organizations with links to the European Muslim Brotherhood calling for the adoption of anti-racist legislation mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on Muslim communities.
- In May 2021, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO held a virtual Eid reception that was joined by a Swedish MP and high-level Council of Europe officials.