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Foto: Lise Åserud / SCANPIX

Muslim woman wins headscarf case

The Norwegian furniture store A-møbler, that fired a Muslim woman because she refused to take off her traditional headscarf, has overturned its decision, and she got her job back.

25-year-old Ambreen Pervez will be back at work at the furniture store February 14, wearing her traditional hijab.

The decision maybe considered a timely one due to current movements in Europe. Two weeks ago several hundred persons demonstrated in downtown Oslo for their right to wear a headscarf in Norway and the rest of Europe. The protest was a part of a larger protest which gathered several thousand Muslims and non-Muslims in a number of cities around Europe and the Middle East.

According to the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, the furniture store case was resolved in a meeting with Anniken Aaseth, the administrating director of A-møbler, Thursday.

“They have agreed not to say anything more about the case to the press than that it is solved,” said Thorstein Larsen, A-møbler’s furniture store.

It was Aaseth who informed the Muslim woman that if she did not remove her headscarf which covers the woman’s hair and throat, she no longer have a job. The store stated that the headscarf breached the store’s clothes code which, among other things, prohibits the use of hats and other headgear.

Pervez filed a complaint with the Gender Equality Ombud, and it concluded that A-møbler could not prohibit employees to wear headgear unless it is a danger for life and health.

“It is very nice that the case has been resolved, and that A-møbler accepts our decision,” said Kristin Mile, ombudsperson.

However, the Gender Equality Ombud claims that there is still a question whether or not use of hijab is oppressing to women.

“That is maybe something the Muslim environment has to discuss, but to forbid the use of the headgear is something completely different,” Mile explained to the paper. “That means that we would shut women out of the work life and it would then be twice as oppressing.”

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