In a video published by The Guardian on Wednesday, three Muslim women discuss how their lives changed after the European court of justice's decision allowed employers to ban religious clothing at the workplace inside the European Union. The video was published in both English and Arabic.
Even though the women live in three different European countries, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (still in Brexit transition period) and Spain, the video illustrates similar struggles they now face in the aftermath of the ruling.
In their moving testaments, Ibtissam Al Zahir, Nada Abdel Muniem and Ayane Baudouin reflect on how difficult and unfair it is for a Muslim woman to have to choose between losing her hijab or her job.
In the video, Al Zahir who lives in Spain, emotionally explains how she had to make the difficult decision to remove her hijab, saying "at the end, I said, OK I will take it off, just give me work." She goes on to express her guilt over the decision.
Abdel Muniem who lives in the Netherlands speaks of similar struggles and explains that wearing a hijab where she currently lives would be "like a wall separating her" from Dutch society. She eventually had to resort to wearing a hat and scarf to keep her hair covered and still be able to work.
Baudouin in London, UK says that she is fortunate because she has yet to face issues with employers judging her choice to wear a hijab. But also explains that if she ever had to make a decision between making a living or "expressing her religious identity," the decision would be extremely difficult to make.
Shortly after the video was shared on Facebook people took to the platform to share their opinions on the issue.
Some are all for the EU court ruling
While others spoke up against discrimination
While the European Court of Justice's ruling would technically apply to all religious symbols, including Christian crosses, the Hindu bindi (red forehead dot) and the Jewish kippah, the specific cases brought before the court featured Muslim women.
The ruling specifically addressed a Belgian woman working for G4S Secure Solutions. She was banned from wearing the headscarf as part of a company policy barring all visible religious symbols. Another case involved a French woman who works in IT. She was asked to remove the hijab after a client complained.