Austrian Pastafarian wins right to wear strainer on his noodle


After receiving his application the Austrian authorities had required him to obtain a doctor’s certificate that he was “psychologically fit” to drive.

According to Mr Reinthaler, “the licence has been ready since October 2009 – it was not collected, that’s all there is to it”.

The idea came into Mr Alm’s noodle three years ago as a way of making a serious, if ironic, point.

A self-confessed atheist, Mr Alm says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted, US-based faith whose members call themselves pastafarians.

Meanwhile, Howard Friedman reports,

Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission announced Monday that it has petitioned to intervene in four religious discrimination cases being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, all involving attempt by employees to obtain accommodation of their religious practices. In its applications to intervene, the Commission argues that past decisions have not sufficiently protected freedom of religion or belief. It will urge the Court to adopt a principle of reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs. Two of the cases involve female employees who wished to wear a cross on a necklace in violation of their employers’ dress policies. (Applications of Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin). The second two cases involved employees with religous objections to same-sex unions. One case involved a marriage registrar who objected to taking part in registration of same-sex civil partnerships. The second involved a counselor who had concerns about providing sexual counselling to same-sex couples. (Applications of Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane).

Last month,

A court … heard the first case against women for wearing the niqab – or Islamic face veil – since a ban came into force in April. One of the defendants was banned from entering the courthouse because she was still wearing the niqab. The two women on trial were stopped in the street on 5 May near the town hall of Meaux, east of Paris. The mayor, Jean-François Copé, is an architect of the ban and head of Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling rightwing UMP party.

Under the controversial law backed by Nicolas Sarkozy, any Muslim woman wearing a face veil is now banned from all public places in France, including streets, trains, courts and school premises.

The state prosecutor requested that each woman be fined €150 (£132) and made to attend a citizenship class. …

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