Germany's highest court has reversed its initial 2003 ban on headscarves for teachers, saying the restriction violates religious freedom.
On Friday, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled as unconstitutional a law preventing teachers from wearing headscarves in some German states while permitting the wearing of Christian symbols.
"A blanket ban on religious expression in public schools based upon the outward appearance of educators is not compatible with their religious freedoms," the court in Germany’s southwestern city of Karlsruhe said in a statement.
However, the court noted that religious symbols could be banned on the grounds of a “concrete danger, or the disturbance of school peace.”
Nurhan Soykan, general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, described the ruling as “very gratifying,” saying, “This recognizes the reality of life for Muslim women in Germany and allows them to participate as equal citizens in the life of society.”
Volker Beck, a lawmaker from Germany’s opposition Greens, also said Friday marked “a good day for religious freedom.”
The case was brought by a Muslim teacher in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, who lost her job over the controversial ban, as well as a school social worker, who got an official warning for wearing headscarves.