Girl denied internship in Belgium due to headscarf

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Turkish-origin social services and pedagogy graduate denied internship by municipality-run retirement home

Girl denied internship in Belgium due to headscarf

By Serife Cetin

BRUSSELS

Betul Baslik, a Turkish-origin social services and pedagogy graduate, has been denied an internship by a Belgian retirement home due to her headscarf.

Born and raised in Belgium, Baslik told Anadolu Agency that she had recently been accepted to pursue her master’s degree at Vrije University Brussels, and she had been encouraged as a successful student by her teachers during her entire academic life in a positive environment.

She said she applied for an internship at a retirement home in Leopoldsburg municipality in Limburg province to gain experience in her field, and that her interview went very well.

“The lady on the interview told me that she must call the municipality to see if my headscarf would be okay or not,” Baslik said.

She said: “The official at the municipality said I wouldn’t be hired if I had a headscarf, but I could if I took it off.”

“I told them I would not give up my religious beliefs and I would not take my headscarf off, and I was not given the job,” she added.

Baslik emphasized that she had completed the required education to be hired, and thought it would be enough.

“I just want to have as equal rights as any citizen of this country,” she said. “I feel like they do not give me the same rights as the other Belgian citizens, and feel that they leave me and those like me out.”

“If a European country talks about freedom, everyone should have the same rights,” Baslik added.

Baslik, who received language education in Ireland, went to Denmark as an exchange student and had been to Malaysia as an intern, can speak Flemish Dutch, English, French, and Turkish languages.

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