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German court says head scarves can't violate Christian values


(RNS) — Muslim teachers in southern Germany may not wear head scarves or any other symbol of their faith that could be construed to clash with Western or Christian values, according to a recent court ruling.

The decision on Jan. 15 by the Constitutional Court of Bavaria puts the German state – one of Germany’s largest, richest, and most culturally Catholic – clearly against expressions of Muslim faith in school life.

The lawsuit had been filed by Islamic Religious Community of Berlin to protest a Bavarian ban on teachers wearing head scarves. Ali Kizilkaya, head of the Islamic Council, called the judgment “very regrettable,” according to the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. Church officials and members of Germany’s Christian Democratic party praised the decision.

Karl Huber, president of the Bavarian Constitutional Court, told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that various rights in the Bavarian constitution had threatened to collide with one another in this case. The Bavarian constitution calls for religious freedom, but also calls for children in public schools to be raised by Christian standards.