SARAJEVO – The Muslim community demands their religious rights, protesting in the response of the headscarf ban.

Headscarf ban has been introduced by the authorities to take affect in the courts and legal institutions. However, the right to wear headscarf has also previously been challenged in the employment sphere. The 2014 report by the Commission for Freedom of Religion has publicised the cases where discrimination at work and bullying was linked to wearing a headscarf, mainly taking place in schools.

The right to wear the veil in the public places of Bosnia and Herzegovina was debated in the Parliament six years ago, in 2010. Back then the intention to ban the veil was also met by the protest of Muslim women.

In 2015, Djermana Seta, the head of Marriage and Family Department in Administration for Religious Affairs at Riyasat/Seat of the Islamic Community has commented to International Institute of Islamic thought on the importance of the “religious symbols” as hijab to the Muslim communities in Europe.

She said that the reasons why Muslim women wear a headscarf in Europe, as well as standing for religious practice could vary. The headscarf may stand for protection, an identity marker, a resistance to the objectification of female bodies, the culture and tradition.

The headscarf ban has been criticised as undermining the religious rights and the free expression of Muslim biggest minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Muslim people comprised 40% of the population in 2014.

European Court of Human Rights 2015 Report has commented on some of the states relying “on the principles of secularism and neutrality to justify a prohibition on civil servants wearing religious symbols”.

The headscarf ban was relatively successful in its spread throughout the European States, where 7% of the population are Muslim. France has extended the ban to all public places for the full face veils in 2014. Germany and Belgium have considered the headscarf ban but did not impose it.

– Dimona Delvere, Correspondent (Europe)

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