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Religious Identity

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Chapter Summary

The ECtHR seeks to uphold the right to freedom of religion which is absolute and the freedom to manifest ones religion which is qualified by Article 9(2). The Article 9 Islamic headscarf case law provokes an uncomfortable reaction in its analysis of gender equality and womens freedom or autonomy and identity. As regards gender equality, the jurisprudence fails to see that upholding a form of equality that acknowledges differences amongst people, including their cultural identity and religious beliefs, rather than insisting they somehow be the same, is also a conception of equality: indeed some would say a more meaningful one. The issue of religious clothing and symbols obviously is not restricted to the Islamic headscarf but it is this symbol which has received most publicity and in many cases demonisation recently.

Keywords: ECtHR; gender equality; Islamic headscarf; religious identity; religious symbols



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