Recent Scholarship: European Court of Human Rights Ruling on Religious Symbols

Asim Jusic’s recent article in the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion examines a December 2017 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights concerning state limitations on religious symbols.

“An (Un)Exceptional Case: Strasbourg’s Court Reserved Nod to Religious Symbols in the Courtroom”

In Hamidović v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Court found that convicting a witness for contempt of court for refusing to remove his skullcap was a violation of freedom of religion. While the Court’s ruling was narrowly confined to the circumstances of this case, Jusic argues that it “may just act as a weak signal of change. First, it fits the ECtHR’s tactics of using cases involving members of controversial religious groups and states with weak human rights records as experimental grounds for adjustment of its jurisprudence and a means to improve its own image. Second, the ECtHR is now carefully signaling its willingness to consider a disparate impact of state limitations on different religions and increase its evidentiary requirements on the adverse impact of religious symbols as a justification for limitations.”

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