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Thousands Denounce University Headscarf Ban Ruling in Brussels

Several thousand young people and students gathered in central Brussels on Sunday to protest against a recent court ruling that held that bans on headscarves in higher education were lawful.

Demonstrators held signs reading “Take your hands off my headscarf,” and “My right” while wearing graduation caps and protective face masks amid fears of coronavirus infection.

“We oppose this decision. We’ve gathered to voice our disagreement while we demand inclusive neutrality. It is the state that has to be neutral, not us,” said Souailha Amri, spokesperson for the student organisation.

Marie Lecocq, a member of the Brussels Regional Parliament for the Ecolo party, was also opposed, stating

“The fact of forbidding a scarf is one of the oppressions that exist in our society to limit the rights of women and in this case to impede the access to higher education.” The protest was organised by a number of local NGOs that represent Muslim women and advocate for social inclusion.

At the start of June, Belgium’s Constitutional Court ruled that banning headscarves in higher education wasn’t against the Belgian constitution or in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

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