Germany supports partial burqa-ban; civil servants, judges, soldiers cannot wear full-face veils

Namrata Tripathi
veiled women

Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament gave a nod to a draft law on Thursday which partially bans the burqa or the full-face Islamic veil, the media reported on Friday.

Under the ban, civil servants, judges and soldiers in Germany are barred from wearing the veils while at work.

After the ban was approved in the Parliament, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that the move showed how far tolerance towards other cultures would go in the country. The bill is now set to go to the upper house.

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Right –wing parties in Germany want the country to follow France's regulations where wearing burqas in public places is banned by law. The rule was enforced in France in 2011.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in December last year, had also called for a ban on full-face Muslim veils "wherever legally possible." Merkel had said that the veils were not appropriate in Germany.

A woman wearing the traditional burqa.

Germany has not yet pursued a complete ban on full-face veils, as the country acknowledges that by doing so it would violate its own constitution.

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German state Bavaria, in February, had also announced plans to ban the full-face veil in government workplaces, schools, universities and while driving, according to BBC reports. Germany has taken many refugees and migrants over the past years, which include many Muslims from the Middle East countries like Syria and Iraq.

Amidst a spade of terror attacks by Islamist militants in Europe, many European countries including France, Austria and Belgium have imposed a ban on wearing full-faced veils in certain public places. A similar legislation supporting the burqa ban is in progress in Netherlands.

Critics however have argued against the ban stating that such a law of barring veils will not have much practical impact in a state with very small number of Muslim residents.