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Germany

Opposition Leader Blasts Headscarf Ruling

Leader of the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) Angela Merkel has sharply criticized a recent decision made by the country’s highest court over the wearing of a headscarf by a Muslim teacher. The decision, which was made last week, ruled that school authorities in Stuttgart were wrong to bar a female Muslim teacher from taking up a teaching job because she insisted on wearing her headscarf in the classroom. The court also left it up to the federal states to enact legislation, if they wanted, to expressly forbid religious symbols in the classroom. The headscarf "stood for an image that is difficult to reconcile with individual dignity and our Christian-Jewish influenced heritage and enlightenment." Merkel told the weekly Rheinischer Merkur. "I don’t want a teacher who wears a cross around his neck to be treated in the same way as a woman with a headscarf," she said.