Towards a New Future

AuthorNatasha Bakht
[  ]
  ,  European Court of Human Rights rendered
its f‌irst-ever ruling in favour of Muslim women’s freedom to wear the
headscarf. Hagar Lachiri, who was a party in a civil case investigating
the death of her brother, was ordered to remove her headscarf in a Bel-
gian courtroom. e Belgian Court’s decision to exclude Lachiri relied on
a law from the nineteenth century that required people attending court
to have their heads uncovered, though the law was not deployed against
Christian nuns in habits or Sikh and Jewish men who wore a turban or
kippah. e Belgian government defended the law by claiming the need
to keep order in the court. Coming after years of defeats for Muslim
women claimants wearing hijabs and niqabs, Lachiri c Belgique represents
an important advance in the European protection of the human rights
of Muslim women. Although Lachiri involved a hijab-wearing woman
and does not guarantee that niqab-wearing women will be extended the
same acceptance in courtrooms, the case might portend a changing of
the legal tide in a continent that has been overwhelmingly opposed to
the visibility of Muslimness.
Equally encouraging is the fact that in October , the United
Nations Human Rights Committee found that Frances ban of the niqab
in public places, implemented in , violated the human rights of

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