Ger­man in­te­rior min­is­ter calls for ban on face veils

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION & WORLD -

Eu­rope’s bat­tle over pub­lic at­tire for Mus­lim women moved Fri­day from the out­cry over ban­ning “burki­nis” in France to a call from Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s gov­ern­ing bloc for a ban in Ger­many on face veils in schools and uni­ver­si­ties and while driv­ing.

The Ger­man pro­posal, an­nounced by In­te­rior Min­is­ter Thomas de Maiziere, was driven by an in­ten­si­fy­ing po­lit­i­cal sea­son and a surge in sup­port for the right since Ger­many ac­cepted more than 1 mil­lion refugees last year. There has been mount­ing pub­lic anx­i­ety over in­te­grat­ing the refugees, who are mostly Mus­lim.

The Ger­man plan ar­rives on the heels of a heated de­bate in France over the burkini — a full­body swim­suit with a head cover­ing — since a hand­ful of cities joined the mayor of Cannes in ban­ning the gar­ment from city beaches.

De Maiziere and Merkel stopped short of call­ing for an out­right ban on the burqa, but the pro­posal put for­ward Fri­day tip­toes along a path the French trav­eled down with a 2010 law that barred any cover­ing that hides the face.

The Ger­man plan would not ban shawls or abayas that cover the body. It is not clear whether the pro­posal will be­come law.

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