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Germany plans a partial ban on the veil

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Germany plans a partial ban on the veil

<p><br /> <br /> </p> <p>German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are to ask that the face veil be banned in schools, universities and while driving a vehicle.</p> <p>Regional interior ministers belonging to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (<span class="caps">CDU</span>) and her Christian Social Union allies (<span class="caps">CSU</span>) are to make a declaration on tougher security measures, including more police and greater surveillance in public areas.</p> <p>The ban involves all types of head coverings obstructing a clear view of the face.</p> <p>However, Muslim women wearing the burqa and niqab will be particularly affected.</p> <p>The party’s call for a partial ban on the burqa and niqab suggests they represent a lack of integration, an inferior social categorisation of women and could pose security risks.</p> <br /> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align"center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Key Angela Merkel ally calls for a partial burka ban in Germany <a href="https://t.co/ofEPCOJNLn">https://t.co/ofEPCOJNLn</a></p>— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) <a href="https://twitter.com/MailOnline/status/766600857387499520">August 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>Is this now the law in Germany, then?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Not yet.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">CDU</span> proposals must be adopted by the government before they can become law. </p> <p>The debate over a ban on the face veil has divided Merkel’s governing coalition. Her Social Democrat (<span class="caps">SPD</span>) junior coalition partners are largely against the demands.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>The politics</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>The <span class="caps">CDU</span>’s calls for a partial ban come as it has lost support to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (<span class="caps">AFD</span>) party.</p> <p>The party says Islam is incompatible with the constitution and wants to ban the burqa and minarets on mosques.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">AFD</span> is expected to perform well in regional elections in Berlin and the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in September.</p> <p><span class="caps">SPD</span> Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has described calls for a ban as a sign of an “increasingly xenophobic” discourse in Germany.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>Islam and the veil in Germany</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Germany is home to nearly four million Muslims, around five percent of the total population.</p> <p>There are no official statistics on the number of women wearing the burqa in Germany.</p> <p>A 2009 study by the <a href="http://www.ifa.de/en/culture-and-foreign-policy/organisations/organisations/federal-office-for-migration-and-refugees-bamf.html">Federal Office for Migration and Refugees</a> found that more than two-thirds of Muslim women in Germany did not even wear a headscarf.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>Austria and the veil</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <li> Austria has 600,000 Muslim citizens </li> <li> Equivalent to 7% of population </li> <br /> <p>Austria’s conservative politicians called for a ban on full body veils on Thursday, saying they would prevent women from integrating into Austrian society.</p> <p>The country’s Foreign and Integration Minister, Sebastian Kurz from the centrist People’s Party, plans to introduce a new integration law next year.</p> <p>Kurz said religious symbols like the burqa are an issue that needs to be discussed.</p> <br /> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Austria leads? Will German ministers push to follow Austrian FM Kurz's call to ban full body veil? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sebastiankurz?src=hash">#sebastiankurz</a><a href="https://t.co/pSAhCkfCD9">https://t.co/pSAhCkfCD9</a></p>— Michael Burri (@Michael__Burri) <a href="https://twitter.com/Michael__Burri/status/766347103085789188">August 18, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>France and the veil</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <li> Largest Muslim minority in Europe </li> <li> Five million Muslim citizens </li> <li> Full-face niqab and burqa ban in public from 2010 </li> <li> Controversy currently focusing on “burkini” full-body swimsuit <li> <br /> <p>Public debate about a ban on full body veils was ignited in several European countries after three French Mediterranean cities banned body-covering “burkini” swimwear.</p> <p>Their argument is it defies French laws on secularism.</p> <p>France, which at five million has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, introduced a ban on full-face niqab and burqa veils in public in 2010.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>Fact Check</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <li> The burqa covers the face and body </li> <li> The niqab covers the hair and face, except for the eyes </li> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What they are saying</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>“We unanimously reject the burqa. It does not fit with our liberal-minded society. We have agreed that we want to make it a legal requirement to show your face in places where it is necessary for the cohesion of our society” – <strong>German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere</strong>.</p>