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Muslim Brotherhood Youth Group Calls On European Court Of Justice To Revise Judgement Allowing Ban Of Religious Symbols In Workplaces

July 29th, 2021 12:04

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.

Read the rest here.

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.