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Debate on wearing Islamic headscarves in the public sphere, including in education institutions, has been one of the most heated debates in today’s Europe. The question of the relationship between human rights and the wearing of an Islamic headscarf in education institutions has been posed in many national and international jurisdictions, including before the European Court of Human Rights.

  This paper explores the Court’s approach to bans on wearing Islamic headscarves in education institutions by analysing its case law on the issue. Analysis is focused on the Court’s interpretation of the principle of secularism/neutrality and gender equality. The author criticises the Court’s overly differential approach, arguing that the principles of equality and secularism have been interpreted in a paternalistic and simplistic manner.