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Japan: Supreme Court Finds Exemption of Confucian Temple from Paying Rent to City Unconstitutional

(Mar. 12, 2021) On February 24, 2021, Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the city government of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, to exempt a Confucian temple from paying land usage fees because such an exemption violated the principle of separation of religion and state. (2019(Gyo-tsu)222 (S. Ct., Feb. 24, 2021), in Japanese; to […]

European Union: European Court of Justice Upholds Flemish Requirement to Stun Animals Before Slaughter

(Dec. 31, 2020) On December 17, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a decree requiring that animals undergo a reversible (temporary) stunning procedure before slaughter is not an illegal infringement of freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. At issue was a […]

Israel: Supreme Court Holds City Rabbis Do Not Enjoy Unlimited Freedom of Speech

(Oct. 12, 2020) On September 21, 2020, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, unanimously ordered the minister of justice and the attorney general (AG) to file a disciplinary action against the rabbi of the city of Safed for a series of offensive statements attributed to him. The statements involved disparaging comments […]

Italy: Update on Measures to Fight the Covid-19 Pandemic

(May 28, 2020) On May 17, 2020, the president of Italy’s Council of Ministers issued a decree containing measures to implement Decree-Laws No. 19 of March 25, 2020, and No. 33 of May 16, 2020, on urgent measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, on May 19, 2020, a new ordinance issued by the […]

Turkey: Constitutional Court Rules Refusal to Allow Election of a New Patriarch a Violation of the Right to Freedom of Religion

(Aug. 8, 2019) On May 5, 2019, the Constitutional Court of Turkey issued its decision in Levon Berç Kuzukoglu ve Ohannes Garbis Balmumciyan, holding that the government’s failure to enable the election of a new Armenian patriarch in a manner conforming with Turkish-Armenian tradition and religious requirements constituted a violation of religious freedom. (Levon Berç […]

Canada: New Bill Prohibits Religious Symbols for Public-Sector Workers in Quebec

(Aug. 6, 2019) On June 16, 2019, Quebec’s National Assembly, in a 75–35 vote, passed Bill No. 21, which prohibits the display of religious symbols by public-sector workers in the work place. The controversial Bill was the government’s fourth attempt in the past decade to introduce religious neutrality to the province. (Bill No. 21, An […]

Tunisia: Cabinet Approves Bill Requiring Equal Inheritance Shares for Men and Women

(Dec. 4, 2018) On November 25, 2018, the cabinet of Tunisia approved a bill that, for the first time in the nation’s history, would require that male and female heirs receive equal inheritance shares. Tunisia is the first among Arab countries to adopt such a bill. The bill will now be referred to the Tunisian […]

European Union: European Court of Justice Rules on Religious Employment Discrimination

(Oct. 3, 2018) On September 11, 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that dismissing a Catholic employee in a managerial position at a Catholic hospital for remarrying in a civil ceremony could constitute discrimination. According to the Court, religion or belief must be a genuine, legitimate, and justified occupational requirement in light of […]

Germany: Islamic Umbrella Organizations Ruled Ineligible to Teach Religious Classes in Public Schools in North Rhine-Westphalia

(Feb. 27, 2018) In a decision published on January 10, 2018, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia (OVG NRW), the highest state court in administrative law matters, held that the petitioners, two Islamic religious umbrella organizations, were not entitled to introduce Islamic religious classes in public schools as a permanent part of the school […]

Israel: New Law Defines Factors for Approving Employment on the Sabbath

(Jan. 5, 2018) On December 26, 2017, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed a law detailing conditions for approval of employment on the Sabbath. (Hours of Work and Rest Law (Amendment No. 16) Law, 5778-2017 (the Amendment Law).  (SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, SH] 5778 No. 2675 p. 73, RESHUMOT [OFFICIAL GAZETTE] (enter 2675 in upper left box […]