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Towards a More Inclusive Europe: Countering Restrictions on Muslim Women’s Dress in the EU

In this event with the European Network Against Racism, the Open Society Justice Initiative will present a new report on restrictions on Muslim women’s dress among the twenty eight EU member states.

Laws, local regulations, and formal practices prohibiting the wearing of religious dress—in employment, education, services, and in public space—result in Muslim women being disproportionality prevented from exercising their rights. Analysis shows that these restrictions stem from openly racist and discriminatory political narratives coming from both far-right and mainstream political discourses. The report's findings identified that only eight member states have laws restricting Muslim women’s dress.

In EU countries that are known to have high standards against discrimination and to promote pluralism and inclusion like Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and others, there is now increasing pressure to introduce religious dress bans that restrict freedoms and exclude religious minorities from society. Campaigns for such laws and regulations have failed in many places, and where they have been adopted, they have faced political and legal resistance by Muslim women, grassroots civil society, national courts, and even national governments.


  • Maryam H'madoun


    Maryam H’madoun is a policy officer for Equality and Inclusion with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

  • Laura Bingham


    Laura Bingham is a legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative.

  • Simon Cox


    Until December 2019, Simon Cox was a migration lawyer at the Open Society Justice Initiative.

  • Malin Bjork


    Malin Bjork is a member of the European Parliament, Confederal Group of the European United Left—Nordic Green Left.

  • Soraya Post


    Soraya Post is a member of the European Parliament, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D).

  • Ibtissam Abaaziz


    Ibtissam Abaaziz is a sociologist and founding member of Stichting Meld Islamofobie, the Netherlands.

  • Eva Brems


    Eva Brems is chair of Human Rights Law at the University of Ghent.

  • Julie Pascoët


    Julie Pascoët is a senior advocacy officer at the European Network Against Racism.

  • Leysan Keller


    Leysan Keller is co-founder of the Initiative with a Headscarf, Germany.

  • Yasmina Akhandaf


    Yasmina Akhandaf is founding member of Baas Over Eigen Hoofd (BOEH!).

  • Javid Rana


    Javid Rana works for the Metropolitan Police Service in London.

  • Sajjad Karim


    Sajjad Karim is a member of the European Parliament, European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

  • Wajid Khan


    Wajid Khan is a member of the European Parliament, S&D.

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