Women dressed in traditional burqa garments in Berlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Julia Klöckner, a vice president of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party, called Monday for a public ban of the full Islamic covering (burka) of women in Germany.
She told the Rheinische Post that, “The burka veil does not represent for me religious diversity, rather a devalued image of women.”
“I am for a ban of the full covering,” she added. There appears to be a political push in Germany to replicate France and Belgium, which have outlawed the burka.
Klöckner’s colleague, CDU deputy Jens Spahn, had also called for a prohibition of the burka. He told Die Zeit, “I cannot accept that women are completely covered and allowed to move in public spaces.”
Klöckner criticized representatives of the German Green Party, because they champion women’s rights while at the same time find it good that women wear burkas.
According to the Rheinische Post article, Klöckner enjoys the support of several regional CDU politicians. Sylvia Pantel, head of the women’s section of the CDU in the city of Düsseldorf, said she hopes for wide support for the ban. “I would look forward to it if Germany adopted the position of France.”
The head of the CDU fraction in the state of Thuringia, Mike Mohring, said he welcomes a ban of the burka, but does not believe it is constitutional.
Various arguments to prohibit the burka have been offered, including to blunt misogyny or compulsion by men who mistreat women. Security reasons have also been noted. The burka could conceivably not allow facial identification in connection with crimes.
It is unclear how many women in Germany wear a burka. The number is believed to be a tiny percentage of Germany’s Muslim population.
Some German state governments have banned the wearing of a burka in civil service positions. The state of Hesse implemented a burka ban in 2004 in its civil service sector and the ban was ruled to be legal by a regional court in 2007. In the state of Lower Saxony, public employees are not allowed to wear a burka or cover their faces unless there is a compelling health or civil service reason.