Merkel party wants ban on Mus­lim full-face veil

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s party yes­ter­day tough­ened its stance on im­mi­gra­tion and in­te­gra­tion, de­mand­ing that dual na­tion­al­ity be scrapped for Ger­man-born chil­dren of for­eign­ers and call­ing for a par­tial ban on the Mus­lim full-face veil. The hard­line mea­sures set the party on a col­li­sion course with its ju­nior coali­tion part­ner So­cial Democrats (SPD) ahead of elec­tions next year, and un­der­lined the chal­lenges faced by Merkel to rein in the more con­ser­va­tive wing of her party.

Merkel her­self had on Tues­day voiced her back­ing for a pro­hi­bi­tion against the niqab or burqa “wher­ever it is legally pos­si­ble”, be­fore the lead­er­ship of her Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union (CDU) voted on the is­sue yes­ter­day.

The party has also pro­posed to ease the de­por­ta­tion process for re­jected asy­lum-seek­ers. But some in her party sought to go fur­ther, with the youth wing de­fy­ing the lead­er­ship and win­ning a vote for a dual na­tion­al­ity rule to be re­versed.

Al­low­ing dual na­tion­al­ity was a key de­mand of the SPD dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives af­ter the last elec­tions in 2013 that re­sulted in a hard-fought deal on teaming up in a left-right gov­ern­ment.

The move mainly af­fects Turk­ish mi­grants, many of whom had come to Ger­many in the 1960s and 1970s to work but have stayed on and started fam­i­lies here. Be­fore 2014, their chil­dren had to give up ei­ther their par­ents’ ci­ti­zen­ship or their Ger­man one by the age of 23. Euro­pean Union cit­i­zens are al­ready per­mit­ted to hold both Ger­man ci­ti­zen­ship and that of their coun­try of ori­gin. In­te­rior Min­is­ter Thomas de Maiziere warned dur­ing a heated de­bate on the dual na­tion­al­ity mo­tion that it would be wrong to tear up a com­pro­mise with its gov­ern­ing part­ner. “We don’t want to re­verse that,” he said, adding that it was also a blow for chil­dren of for­eign ori­gin at a time when the coun­try is strug­gling with in­te­gra­tion is­sues.

No other party would back such a mo­tion, warned de Maiziere, whose sep­a­rate pro­posal for ji­hadists to be stripped of their Ger­man na­tion­al­i­ties was also ap­proved by the congress. But party del­e­gates voted nar­rowly, with 319 votes in fa­vor and 300 against, to scrap the com­pro­mise. The de­ci­sion quickly drew a re­buke from the SPD, with Jus­tice Min­is­ter Heiko Maas say­ing that re­vers­ing the rule “would be a step back­wards for in­te­gra­tion”.

SPD vice-chair Ay­dan Ozoguz ac­cused the CDU of at­tack­ing “an im­por­tant in­te­gra­tion suc­cess”. Given the lack of back­ing for it from other par­ties, the mea­sure is un­likely to be ever im­ple­mented. Like­wise, the call for a par­tial ban on the burqa is un­likely to be­come law as it would run into a con­sti­tu­tional le­gal tan­gle. But they send a po­tent sig­nal ahead of the gen­eral elec­tions ex­pected next Septem­ber as the party seeks to win back sup­port­ers clawed away by the pop­ulist and anti-mi­grant AfD.

In that spirit, the CDU on Wed­nes­day also called for mi­grants who are due to be de­ported to be taken into cus­tody a few weeks be­fore their de­par­ture rather than a few days ahead. — AFP

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