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School Bans on the Wearing of Religious Symbols: Examining the Implications of Recent Case Law from the UK

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image of Religion & Human Rights

This article examines school bans on the wearing of religious symbols and starts with a discussion of the arguments for the imposition of a ban and the counter arguments against these. The question whether a ban on the wearing of religious clothing in schools is a violation of the right to manifest one's religion as guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) is analyzed using the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and of the English courts in relation to such bans in education. The cases appear to suggest that such bans can be considered an interference with the right to manifest one's religion under Article 9(1), but that these bans can be justified under Article 9(2) in certain circumstances. Two important considerations in the decision of the courts are the way decisions to ban certain forms of religious dress are made and whether alternative ways of manifesting the religion are available.

Affiliations: 1: Law Department, Middlesex University, UK


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