Germany plans a partial ban on the veil

Germany plans a partial ban on the veil
By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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The CDU proposals stop short of an outright ban and must be adopted by the government before they can become law. They have divided Angela Merkel's governing coalition.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are to ask that the face veil be banned in schools, universities and while driving a vehicle.

Regional interior ministers belonging to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Christian Social Union allies (CSU) are to make a declaration on tougher security measures, including more police and greater surveillance in public areas.

The ban involves all types of head coverings obstructing a clear view of the face.

However, Muslim women wearing the burqa and niqab will be particularly affected.

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.

Key Angela Merkel ally calls for a partial burka ban in Germany

— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) August 19, 2016

Is this now the law in Germany, then?

Not yet.

The CDU proposals must be adopted by the government before they can become law.

The debate over a ban on the face veil has divided Merkel’s governing coalition. Her Social Democrat (SPD) junior coalition partners are largely against the demands.

The politics

The CDU’s calls for a partial ban come as it has lost support to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AFD) party.

The party says Islam is incompatible with the constitution and wants to ban the burqa and minarets on mosques.

The AFD is expected to perform well in regional elections in Berlin and the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in September.

SPD Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has described calls for a ban as a sign of an “increasingly xenophobic” discourse in Germany.

Islam and the veil in Germany

Germany is home to nearly four million Muslims, around five percent of the total population.

There are no official statistics on the number of women wearing the burqa in Germany.

A 2009 study by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees found that more than two-thirds of Muslim women in Germany did not even wear a headscarf.

Austria and the veil

  1. Austria has 600,000 Muslim citizens
  2. Equivalent to 7% of population

Austria’s conservative politicians called for a ban on full body veils on Thursday, saying they would prevent women from integrating into Austrian society.

The country’s Foreign and Integration Minister, Sebastian Kurz from the centrist People’s Party, plans to introduce a new integration law next year.

Kurz said religious symbols like the burqa are an issue that needs to be discussed.


Austria leads? Will German ministers push to follow Austrian FM Kurz's call to ban full body veil? #sebastiankurz

— Michael Burri (@Michael__Burri) August 18, 2016

France and the veil

  1. Largest Muslim minority in Europe
  2. Five million Muslim citizens
  3. Full-face niqab and burqa ban in public from 2010
  4. Controversy currently focusing on “burkini” full-body swimsuit
  5. 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.

Their argument is it defies French laws on secularism.

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.

Fact Check

  1. The burqa covers the face and body
  2. The niqab covers the hair and face, except for the eyes

What they are saying

“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” – German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

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