Bosnian Judiciary to Consider Hijab Ban

Muslim leaders and Bosniak politicians have reacted angrily after the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), which oversees much of the country's judiciary, told judicial institutions to review whether to allow their employees to wear religious symbols such as the Muslim hijab.

"The HJPC hasn't banned the use of religious symbols, rather it has pointed out that the heads of judicial institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina should give specific attention to the issue of prohibiting the wearing of any religious symbol by employees of judicial institutions," HJPC spokesperson Marjana Popovic told BIRN.

"The HJPC hasn't taken any decision on this topic but has drawn attention to the articles of the Law on Courts in the two entities of the country and the code of judiciary ethics, which prohibit the expression of any political, religious or ethnic affiliation by employees of these structures," she said.

The leader of Bosnia's Islamic Community, Husein Kavazovic, reacted angrily to the proposal, which has been depicted by media as an attack on Muslim women who wear the veil or hijab.

"It's a racist and illegal measure," Kavazovic said in a letter to the HJPC.

The country's Law on Religious Freedom upholds people's right to practice their faith in public places.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of religion and belief [and] the freedom to publicly profess it," the law says.

"At the same time, everyone has the right... publicly or privately - to manifest in any manner his religious feelings and beliefs by performing and observing religious obligations, respecting traditions and other religious activities," says article 4 of the legislation.

This right can be limited only by law, "in accordance with international...

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