RELIGION
07/20/2015 04:07 pm ET Updated Jul 21, 2015

Muslim-Jewish Group Organizes Rally For Equal Employment Opportunities

Yuichiro Tashiro

A Muslim-Jewish organization in Germany held an interfaith rally last week to promote equal employment opportunities for people who wear religious head coverings. Their message? "My head, my choice."

Salaam-Shalom organized the July 14 demonstration in response to news that Betul Ulusoy, a Muslim law school graduate, had been denied a trainee job at a law office in the Neukölln neighborhood of Berlin.

Yuichiro Tashiro

Ulusoy was reportedly denied the position because of her headscarf. After appearing at the office for an interview, Ulusoy says, she was told her scarf constituted an "official business problem" that needed to be "assessed." Ulusoy complained about the incident on Facebook, though local mayor Falko Liecke denied that it constituted discrimination. 

Germany's neutrality law prohibits headscarves in police forces, judicial services and schools, notes news outlet Der Tagesspiegel. But for trainees like Ulusoy, there are frequently exceptions.

Armin Langer, one of the organizers of the Salaam-Schalom rally, said the demonstration aimed to promote equal rights for all people who wear head coverings.
 
"With our protest we made a public [statement], but we emphasize that we didn't demonstrate for Betül only, but for all women with head coverings who are discriminated [against] based on their religious practices," Langer said in an email to The Huffington Post.
 
The rally was supported by a wide range of Muslim, Jewish, Christian and secular organizations, he added. "We are working for a pluralistic democracy that respects all equally even if they are different."
 

Roughly 100 people gathered in front of the Neukölln town hall for the rally, according to Berlin-based photojournalist Yuichiro Tashiro. More than 20 local businesses and organizations signed on to Salaam-Shalom's initiative, the group's website reports. Other's showed their support by tweeting the hashtag #myheadmychoice: 

Photos by Yuichiro Tashiro

This story has been updated to include comments from Langer.

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