INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF EURASIAN SOCIAL SCIENCES- 4, Muğla, Turkey, 15 - 18 October 2020, pp.354
This article revisits the ECtHR cases of Sahin v Turkey and Dahlab v Switzerland. These court decisions relied on the article 9 (2) of the ECHR and granted the states wide margin of appreciation. In doing so, the court rulings reflected abstract concerns about the underlying beliefs of the Islamic clothing rather than providing concrete evidence of proselytism or harm inflicted upon others. Many scholars of law and religion have efficiently examined these weaknesses of the rulings. However, the issue of Muslim women and agency was not sufficiently discussed in the related literature. In this context of agency, this article argues that the Court evaluates the contested practice of headscarf in these two cases as a Muslim communal norm that can be either confirmed or subverted rather than manifestations of individual religious beliefs of Sahin and Dahlab. Thus, the Court disregards Sahin and Dahlab’s own religious interpretations surrounding headscarf and holds them responsible for the entire Muslims across the time and the globe by focusing on the meaning and impact of headscarf in the abstract. This article suggests that scholars of anthropology and sociology of religion can assist the Court in achieving better religious literacy and avoiding the other-religion effect that obscures the diversity within a religious tradition.
Key Words: Religious Freedom, Religious Literacy, ECtHR, Agency, The Other-Religion Effect