Muslim Woman In Berlin Will Be Allowed To Wear Headscarf To Work Despite Opposition

| by Nathaly Pesantez

Betul Ulusoy, a 26-year-old Muslim blogger based in Berlin, Germany, was thrown into the spotlight last month as news outlets picked up her story on headscarves and their acceptance in the workplace. 

Ulusoy, having submitted applications for several trainee positions in Berlin’s city administration, was notified on June 2 of an offer to work at the city district of Neukolln. 

Wearing her headscarf, Ulusoy went to the district on June 3 to sign the contract, but was told at the offices that their offer would have to be reconsidered due to Berlin’s “neutrality law,” a measure that prevents some employees from dressing in religious garments. 

But on June 9, after much media frenzy, a judge ruled that Ulusoy will be allowed to pursue the trainee position, regardless of her headscarf. 

Ulusoy, who has a degree in law, said she expected the outcome of the ruling to be in her favor, especially in light of another measure within Berlin’s Neutrality Act — that faith shall not be a basis of discrimination, reports RBB. 

She also said that wearing the headscarf serves as a reminder of her freedom of expression and as a form of emancipation, reports The Local. 

Although Ulusoy will be prevented from pursuing some activities while she wears a headscarf to work, she will be allowed to finish her training, Borough Mayor Franziska Giffey told RBB. 

With the ruling, Ulusoy became the first person allowed to wear a headscarf at the Neukolln administration. Some speculate the outcome of Ulusoy’s case won't make big waves in Germany.

Giffey reportedly said that the state needs to remain neutral, and reminded others that civil servants must refrain from wearing religious symbols. 

Germany has one of the largest Muslim populations in the European Union, with around 4.8 million Muslims in 2010, according to Pew Research Center. A 2014 study found that 58 percent of Germans view Muslims favorably, while 33 percent held negative views of Muslims. 

Sources: The Local, RBB, Pew Research Center
Photo Credit: RBB