The coalition #GegenBerufsverbot (#AgainstOccupationalBan) is made up of organisations and individuals working to fight racism and sexism. It aims to educate the public about the discriminatory and unconstitutional effects Berlin’s so-called Neutrality Law has on religious and racial minorities, as well as womxn. Our ultimate goal is to overturn this law and any religious dress restrictions.
The Law on Article 29 of the Berlin Constitution came into force in 2005 and prohibits people who wear visible religious or ideological symbols or clothing from working in public schools or from being officials of the prison system or the police, and in a more moderate form from being educators in day-care centres.
Although this law is falsely dubbed the ‘neutrality’ law, it is anything but neutral. It disproportionally affects religious and racial minorities as well as womxn. They are denied access to work. Above all, it is Muslim womxn who wear a headscarf who are deprived of their free choice of profession. Men* from the Sikh community who wear a turban or from the Jewish community who wear a kippah are also affected.
Human dignity, protection against discrimination, free choice of profession and the freedom of religion are enshrined in the constitution and are human and civil rights cornerstones that Germany heralds as part and parcel of their democracy. However, the State of Berlin argues that religious minorities endanger state neutrality and – in education – school peace and must thus be banned from serving in these public sector jobs.
The law must be repealed and access to work, as well as all other areas of society, should be open to all, regardless of religion, ethnic origin, race, class, disability, sexual orientation, gender and all other backgrounds.