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2001-07-25 - Council of State, Fonds de défense des musulmans en justice, n. 216903

Public space · France · Dress code · Freedom of religion

Limiting the wearing of religious clothes on identity card does not breach freedom of religion

Key facts of the case - The applicant is an association aiming at sticking up for Muslims before the courts. In the case at hand they argue that the decree (25 nov. 1999) establishing the bare-headed photo on identity cards infringes religious freedom protected by Art. 10 of the Declaration of the Right of Man and of the Citizen, Art. 9 ECHR and Art. 1 of the 9th December 1905 on separation of Church and State.

Main reasoning of the court - The Council of State holds that pursuant to those provisions, the wearing of the veil or of the headscarf by women intending to express their religious beliefs can be submitted to limits in the name of public order. Moreover, these limits, which are designed to minimize the risk of fraud or impersonation, are not disproportionate to that aim and are accordingly not in breach of the above cited provisions.

Comment - A similar solution was adopted by the Council of State for passports (Council of State, 02-06-2003, Mlle Aboutaher, n. 245321). The administrative decree n° 99-973, 25-11-1999, adding to decree n. 55-1397 of 22-10-1955 creating the national identity card (art. 4-3) provides that, to be delivered his/her identity card, the applicant must provide two pictures (35 × 45 mm format), which are identical, recent and faithful portrait photos, on which he/she appears bare-headed.

See the decision: Council of State, 25-07-2001, Fonds de défense des musulmans en justice, n. 216903.