Angela Merkel endorses party’s call for partial ban on burqa and niqab

The Guardian reports: Angela Merkel has for the first time endorsed her party’s call for a partial ban on the burqa and the niqab in Germany, telling delegates at the Christian Democratic Union’s conference in Essen “the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever it is legally possible”.

The German chancellor’s CDU party is expected this week to pass a motion proposing a ban on the full-face veil in some areas of public life such as courts, schools and universities, as well as in road traffic and during police checks. A full ban, as introduced in France in 2011, is seen as incompatible with Germany’s basic laws.

Merkel’s comments follow the Netherlands’ move at the end of November to introduce a partial ban on the full veil in hospitals, municipal institutions, schools and on transport, a measure that also covers other pieces of clothing such as motorbike helmets or balaclavas. Similar bans are already in place in Belgium, Bulgaria and the Swiss canton of Tessin.

Until further detail of the motion emerges, Merkel’s comments represent a change in rhetoric rather than a full U-turn: back in September, the chancellor had called for stricter guidelines on official situations where wearing a full-face veil was not permissible, while also stating that “lived diversity is the logical consequence of freedom”. [Continue reading…]

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