Sweden: Blanket veil-ban is discriminatory

Sweden: Blanket veil-ban is discriminatory

Via The Local:

Banning a student from class for wearing a headscarf is a violation of Sweden’s anti-discrimination laws, the country’s Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO) has ruled.

“According to the DO’s assessment, kicking a student out of class simply because she was wearing a niqab, without taking into account the specific circumstances of her participation, violates the law against discrimination,” Equality Ombudsman Katri Linna wrote in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.


Linna also expressed her concern about the “rancor and simplifications” which infected the ensuing debate about wearing a niqab, rejecting justifications based on the assumption that headscarves are an “expression of the oppression of women” and therefore must be fought.

“To remove women who wear niqabs from an education programme benefits neither theirs nor other women’s equality,” writes the ombudsman.

“I believe instead that education can be a platform for women to continue to develop and shape their own choices. Education is the basis for entering the job market and thus access to a social context outside the home and the possibility to support oneself.”

The Equality Ombudsman’s decision means that a school must make an individual assessment in every case involving a student wearing a niqab and that schools cannot decide on a general ban against women bearing headscarves, according to Linna.