The European Court of Human Rights (ESLJP) in Strasbourg on Thursday has upheld a French court's decision not to extend a work contract for a Muslim social worker for wearing a sail at the workplace in a public institution.
French courts have ruled that by wearing a sail in a public place a social worker at the hospital "is showing off his faith in a manner that is incompatible with the neutrality that the public service employees are obliged to perform in their duties".
France has repeatedly tried to limit the wearing of sails and other religious symbols in order to preserve the features of the secular state, thus causing sharp opposition from the opposite.
The ESLJP concluded that the French authorities could go to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression of religious affiliation in order to preserve the constitutional principle of secularism.
It is believed that France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.
The court ruled in the case of Christiane Ebrahimian, who had been sued by the 2001 Constitutional Court in Paris, because she had decided not to extend her employment contract. The case was ultimately ended at the European Court of Human Rights, which is an institution of the Council of Europe and has jurisdiction over the 47 courts of the member states of the EC.