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  German minister calls for partial burqa ban

German minister calls for partial burqa ban

AFP
Published : Aug 20, 2016, 5:12 am IST
Updated : Aug 20, 2016, 5:12 am IST

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere came out Friday in favour of a partial burqa ban amid a fierce national debate on integration.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere came out Friday in favour of a partial burqa ban amid a fierce national debate on integration.

“We agree that we reject the burqa, we agree that we want to introduce a legal requirement to show one’s face in places where it is necessary for our society's coexistence — at the wheel, at public offices, at the registry office, in schools and universities, in the civil service, in court,” he said after a meeting with regional counterparts from his conservative party.

De Maiziere told public television that the full face veil “does not belong in our cosmopolitan country”.

“We want to show our faces to each other and that is why we agree that we reject this — the question is how we put this into law,” he said.

De Maiziere indicated that outlawing the burqa only under certain circumstances — as opposed the blanket ban favoured by the hard right of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Union bloc — would be “likely to win approval” in parliament.

Merkel’s right-left “grand coalition” holds an overwhelming majority in the Bundestag lower house.

De Maiziere’s position represents a compromise with hardliners ahead of two key state elections next month in which the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party looks set to make gains.

Just last week he had rejected a call from conservative state interior ministers for a burqa ban, saying: “We can’t ban everything that we reject, and I reject the wearing of the burqa.”

The AfD in particular has attempted to link the record influx of migrants and refugees, many from the Middle East, to Germany last year with an increased threat of terrorism — an argument Merkel sharply rejected this week.

Location: Germany, Berliini, Berlin