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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Dutch to hear Muslim rights case
By Geraldine Coughlan
BBC News, The Hague

Woman wearing headscarf
The headscarf issue has been contentious across Europe
A Muslim woman who was refused a job because she would not wear a headscarf is taking her case to the Dutch Equal Opportunities Commission.

It is the first such case before the tribunal and another side of the Europe-wide debate on Muslim clothing.

Meanwhile, the Dutch centre-right government looks set to introduce some of the toughest curbs on Muslim dress in the world.

It is investigating where and when the burqa should be banned.

Discrimination claim

Samira Haddad's case before the Equal Opportunities Commission is the first of its kind. It focuses on the obligation for Muslim teachers to wear a headscarf, while their non-Muslim colleagues do not have to.

Samira Haddad was turned down for a post as Arabic teacher at the prestigious Islamic College in Amsterdam because she refuses to wear a headscarf.

She claims the college is discriminating between Muslim and non-Muslim staff. Under Dutch law all employees must be treated equally in religious institutions.

The debate on Muslim clothing in the Netherlands is heating up. The government wants to ban the burqa in certain places, including schools.

Utrecht city council says it will stop paying social security to women who wear the burqa and headscarves to job interviews.

If the Netherlands does decide to ban the burqa, it will be the first European country to do so.



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