German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said “full veil is not appropriate” in Germany (Photo: Creative Commons)
In what is being called an astonishing pre-election u-turn, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called for a niqab ban after saying the “full veil is not appropriate” in Germany.
Speaking at Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party conference on December 6, Merkel said that the niqab should be outlawed. “The full veil must be banned, wherever legally possible. Showing your face is part of our way of life,” she said. This was the first time the audience responded with extended applause when she mentioned this and Sharia law.
She also attacked Sharia law. “Our laws take precedence over honour codes, tribal customs and sharia,” she said.
The speech comes after Merkel stressed her determination to ensure there is no repeat of last year’s huge migrant influx as she seeks a fourth term as chancellor.
Merkel said she would back a nationwide ban just months after revealing that she believed the niqab was a barrier to Muslim women becoming integrated into German society.
However, the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD) aka the Central Council of Muslims in Germany said chancellor should be focusing her attention on discrimination, not a niqab ban to improve integration.
ZMD, President, Aiman Mazyek told The Muslim News, “you can count the number of people who wear Burka or Niqab on one hand, we expect with less than 100 people in Germany.”
Mazyek insists that the proposed ban does not solve the integration problems “the discrimination against the integrated Muslimas [Muslim women] with headscarf are overlooked.”
“Lastly, there are no theological objections against non-wearing a Niqab or a Burka. There is at most a religious opinion by a minority for it. Nevertheless we, as the ZMD, do not share this opinion from our theological view explicitly,” said Mazyek
Previously, Merkel has stopped short of calling for a ban on the niqab, saying: “This is a question of finding the right political and legal balance.”
The move comes only a week after MPs in the Netherlands voted overwhelmingly to ban the niqab from some public places, the latest such move in a European country.
The legislation must now go before the German Senate for approval before becoming law. It follows similar bans imposed in France, Latvia [only three people are known to wear the niqab in the country], Bulgaria, Spain, and Belgium.
In her first party address since announcing she would run for a fourth term as Chancellor next year, Merkel also pledged to strengthen the forces of law and order while speeding up the sclerotic deportation process of failed asylum seekers.
A poll conducted a week before her speech showed the CDU was up 2 points to 37 per cent.