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European angle

July 2011

European angle

European judges in Strasbourg have ordered ministers to make a formal statement on whether it believes Christians’ rights have been infringed by decisions in the British courts.
    According to the Daily Telegraph, the move by the European Court was the result of a new legal challenge, led by four Christians who believe they have suffered discrimination for their beliefs.
    The four include Nadia Eweida, the British Airways worker who mounted a legal action after being barred from wearing a cross around her neck, and Lillian Ladele, a former registrar who asked if she could be exempt from performing homosexual civil partnerships because of her faith.
    The European Court selected these cases based on their ‘legal significance’, according to Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting two of the applicants.
    She said, ‘These cases are significant on every front. There seems to be a disproportionate animosity towards the Christian faith and the workings of the courts in the UK has led to deep injustice.
    ‘If we are successful in Strasbourg, I hope the Equalities Act and other diversity legislation will be overturned or overhauled so that Christians are free to work and act in accordance with their conscience’.
    In the Mrs Eweida case, the European Court reportedly asked the British government, ‘Did the restriction on visibly wearing a cross or crucifix at work amount to an interference with the applicant’s right to manifest her religion or belief, as protected by Article 9 [the right to freedom of religion] of the Convention?’

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