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Prohibitions against Religious Clothing and Symbols in Public Schools and Universities: Narrowing the Scope by Introducing the Principle of Equal Treatment of Religious Manifestations

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The reasoning and conclusions reached by the European Court of Human Rights in cases against some Member States that involve prohibitions against the wearing of religious clothes and symbols in public educational institutions have led scholars to argue that introduction of similar prohibitions in other Member States will be in conformity with the Convention. By broadening the spectrum of relevant case-law, this article will argue that the wide margin of appreciation often referred to, conceals that the strictness of review may vary considerably depending on the circumstances of each case. The principle of equal treatment of religious manifestations is introduced as a norm that influences the strictness of review. Further, it is discussed to what extent the aim of preserving gender equality and the aim of avoiding religious pressure may be put forward in order to justify the introduction of prohibitions.

Affiliations: 1: Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of OsloOsloNorway


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