German judge bans woman from wearing headscarf in court

A German judge has banned a Syrian woman from wearing a headscarf in court during divorce proceedings against her husband, local media reported on Tuesday. The woman’s lawyer Najat Abokal told daily newspaper Tagesspiegel that the judge in the eastern city of Luckenwalde sent a letter to her client saying that religiously motivated statements such as wearing a headscarf would not be allowed in the hearing. The judge’s letter also warned the woman she would face legal charges if she did not comply with this instruction during the hearing scheduled for July 27, the lawyer was cited as saying. Meanwhile, Roswitha Neumaier, the director of the district court, was reported to have said the hearing has been postponed over the objection.
In Germany, home to nearly 4.7 million Muslims, religious freedoms are protected by the constitution. Several German states have banned public employees such as teachers, police, judges or prosecutors from wearing religious clothing and symbols while on duty. However, there is no law that prevents citizens from wearing headscarves or other religious symbols while they are in public institutions. The Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2006 that people present as spectators could not be expelled from a court proceeding because they were wearing a headscarf.

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