Author: Eva Brems
Author: Eva Brems
This volume constitutes a commentary on Article 14 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, guaranteeing the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It is part of the series, A Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides an article by article analysis of all substantive, organizational and procedural provisions of the CRC and its two Optional Protocols. For every article, a comparison with related human rights provisions is made, followed by an in-depth exploration of the nature and scope of State obligations deriving from that article. The series constitutes an essential tool for actors in the field of children’s rights, including academics, students, judges, grassroots workers, governmental, non- governmental and international officers. The series is sponsored by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office.
Author: Eva Brems


The chapter discusses discrimination against Muslims in Belgium. First it sketches the background of the situation of Muslims in Belgium, including demographics, structure of government, state-religion relations and the status of Islam. This is followed by an analysis of discrimination at the Legislative, Executive and Judicial levels. The latter is subdivided in 5 sections, respectively addressing education, employment, the exercise of religion, state relations with religious communities, and hate crime and hate speech.

As an officially recognized religion, Islam enjoys significant benefits, the most notable of which are state subventions and the teaching of Islam in public primary and secondary schools. Yet at the same time, Belgium has extensive restrictions on Muslim religious practice, in particular women’s religious dress, and un-stunned religious slaughter.

Finally, there is the fact that Belgium is among the worst performers in Europe when it comes to education and employment of persons with a migration background, the group to which most Muslims in Belgium belong. This is a matter of structural discrimination, in the sense of lack of equal opportunities, that affects Muslims on account of a multiplicity of factors including class, ethnicity and religion.

In: State, Religion and Muslims
In: The European Court of Human Rights and the Freedom of Religion or Belief