Private employers may bar staff from wearing Islamic headscarves at work. REPRESENTATION PIC/Thinkstock
Brussels: Private employers may bar staff from wearing Islamic headscarves and other visible religious symbols under certain conditions, the European Union's top court ruled on Tuesday.
In its first ruling on what has become a major political issue, the Court of Justice (ECJ) found that a Belgian firm which had a rule barring employees who dealt with customers from wearing visible religious and political symbols in order to project a public image of neutrality may not be guilty of discrimination, if it met certain other conditions. But, it found that a French company that dismissed a software engineer for refusing to remove her headscarf may have breached EU laws barring discrimination on religious grounds if it did so, not because of a general internal rule but just because a particular client objected.
A Saudi Arabian university warned its female students of immediate dismissal for imitating men in haircuts and outfits, a local media report said on Tuesday. According to the report, the Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh sent the warning messages on Monday, while the decision will be enforced staring next month.
The university stressed students who violate the warning will be suspended immediately. The decision covers women with very short haircuts, which are considered by conserv-ative Muslims as a sin for imitating men.