German high court overturns ban on teachers wearing headscarves, ruling it unconstitutional

Germany's highest court has struck down a state's ban on teachers wearing headscarves as unconstitutional, saying that it violates guaranteed religious freedoms.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled Friday in favor of two female Muslim teachers from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in a decision that will also apply to other states.

The state's law banned headscarves on grounds they could call into question a teacher's neutrality and cause classroom disruptions. But the court ruled a school would need to show "not only an abstract but a sufficiently specific risk" to justify a ban.

The court also said a clause excepting "Christian and Western educational and cultural values or traditions" from the state's ban violated the constitution's protection against discrimination on religious grounds.