German parliament votes in favor of partial burqa ban


German parliament votes in favor of partial burqa ban

The German parliament has supported a draft law banning women working in the civil service, judiciary and military from wearing full-face Islamic veils.

Burqas and niqabs will be prohibited in selected professions as part of the legislation, which will not come into effect until being approved by the Bundesrat state parliament.

Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, argued that the ban was compatible with integration as debate continues over the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers in the country. “Integration also means that we should make clear and impart our values and where the boundaries of our tolerance towards other cultures lie,” he said.  “The draft law we have agreed on makes an important contribution to that.”

Some right-wing politicians have called for a full ban on the burqa in public, which has been imposed in France and Belgium, but Mr de Maiziere said the move would be incompatible with Germany’s constitution.

The new law will require government employees to show their faces, as well as giving authorities the power to check women’s identities in elections.

It was opposed by politicians from the left-wing Die Linke and Die Grünen parties, who dismissed the legislation as a “purely symbolic policy” pandering to the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) ahead of September’s elections.

Critics argued that burqa-wearing soldiers and officials do not actually exist, making the new rules redundant, and said they will worsen tensions.

Angela Merkel announced her support for the move in December, saying full-face veils were “not acceptable in Germany” and calling them to be banned “wherever it is legally possible”.

Source: The Independent

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