German authorities confirmed that the state of Berlin will allow Muslim teachers to wear the hijab in the capital’s schools, after more than 18 years of ban.
The Ministry of Education in Berlin said, in an official letter sent to school principals, that the hijab and the wearing of religious symbols by teachers will be generally permitted and can only be restricted in individual cases if it poses a danger to school peace, according to the “Amal, Berlin!” website.
Under Berlin’s neutrality law, which prohibits civil servants from wearing religious clothing and symbols, teachers in the city have been banned from wearing the hijab since 2005.
However, several court rulings issued in recent years have confirmed that the comprehensive ban on the hijab constitutes discrimination and violates religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.
At the beginning of this year, the Federal Constitutional Court did not accept a complaint from Berlin against the decision of the Federal Labor Court issued in 2020. The Labor Court in Erfurt ruled at that time to allow teachers who wear the hijab to teach.
In 2015, the Federal Constitutional Court paved the way for reform in the federal states by issuing a landmark ruling against the general ban on the hijab for female teachers. At that time, in addition to Berlin, the ban on the hijab was in effect in 7 other federal states. The seven states gradually adapted the laws in their schools to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court.
In 2017, the Research Service of the Bundestag studied the situation of veiled female teachers in the federal states. The study found that there were only a small number of individual cases of female teachers wearing the veil.
Until now, according to the Berliner Zeitung, the federal states have not recorded any statistics on the number of female teachers who wear the hijab in the classroom.
It is also difficult to ascertain how many teachers or teacher trainees in Berlin are Muslims, because data on religious affiliation is not recorded centrally in Berlin.