Headscarf reference creates division

The European Court of Justice, the European Union’s highest court, ruled in support of companies that ban their workers from wearing “visible religious symbols,” The Guardian reported on March 14.

It is important to note that the ruling only supports companies that ban all religious symbols, rather than companies that only ban garments like the hijab. However, several media outlets, including The Guardian, chose to include the word “headscarf” in their headlines. The word choice in these headlines may have been caused by the timing of the ruling as it follows Belgium and France’s national bans on the burkini and burqa, bans established by Cannes and a few other cities on the French Riviera.

This dangerous trend sends a message that anti-Muslim sentiments are on the rise in the European Union. For years, western European countries were the bastion of progressive liberal thought. Two years of a crippling refugee crisis, however, were enough to erase that reputation.

France, Germany and Italy are currently bracing for elections. In at least two of these countries, right-wing politicians have a real possibility of winning. As such, people all over the world are slowly witnessing the European Union’s ideological shift that is in direct opposition of the organization’s founding principles of religious freedom.