Ban Burqa Wherever Legally Possible: Merkel

Angela Merkel Forbes, Angela Merkel New Year's speech

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, known for her tolerance, has proposed a ban on the Muslim full-veil, wherever it is legally possible. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party conference hall erupted with applause as she finished announcing her proposal.

Speaking at the conference, she said, “We have to show our face during personal communication. It is important and that is why a full veil is not appropriate here. It should be forbidden, wherever that is legally possible. It does not belong to us.”

The chancellor has faced a lot of flak for opening Germany’s borders to migrants from nearby war zones. Her proposed burqa ban was met with non-stop applause from her party workers, which according to Vox, is a way to win the trust of her conservative party.

This move follows the one by France, which became the first European country to ban niqabs, a full-face veil with an opening for eyes and burqas, full-body covering cloth which covers the face as well. The then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy had called the burqa a symbol of “debasement” and the law was brought to action in 2011. In spite of the case reaching the European Convention of Human Rights, the court ruled in favour of the ban.

The law applies to both men and women who wear a face-covering veil or mask in public places likes streets, restaurants, public transports and parks. On being found guilty, the person can be fined up to €150.

In August, a photograph of armed policemen asking a lady to take off a part of her burkini had gone viral. The whole world took notice of the situation in France and it sparked outrage. More than 30 French towns banned burkinis stating the reason for growing terror concerns. Though the ban was suspended by France’s highest administrative court, the ban on wearing burqas and niqabs still prevails in France.

According to a lot of reports and analysis, the burqa ban in France has been proven to bring negative results. Agnes de Feo, a sociologist and filmmaker, who has been studying the impact of the ban, told The Local, “We created a monster.” She said, “Those who have left to go and fight in Syria say that this law is one of the things that encouraged them. They saw it as a law against Islam. It had the effect of sending a message that Islam was not welcome in France.”

Earlier, Merkel announced that she will be seeking a fourth term in the 2017 elections. The chancellor said she expects the 2017 campaign to be the toughest till date.

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