19 August 2016

This is Angela Merkel Desperately Trying to Salvage Her Electoral Chances

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

The German proposal, announced by the interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, was clearly driven by an intensifying political season and a surge in support for the far right since Germany accepted more than a million refugees last year. There has been mounting public anxiety over integrating the refugees, who are mostly from Muslim countries, particularly after a series of terrorist assaults and a gun rampage last month.


Yet the proposals now being floated in Germany around restricting the burqa make it clear that France is not the only European country grappling with whether some Islamic coverings amount to a barrier to the full participation of women in Western society.

Ms. Merkel had sent a signal about the partial ban on face veils on Thursday, when she told a group of provincial newspapers that “from my standpoint, a fully veiled woman scarcely has a chance at full integration in Germany.”

Mr. de Maizière said the same day that “the burqa doesn’t fit with our country and does not correspond to our understanding of the role of women.”
Continue reading the main story

Mr. de Maizière and Ms. Merkel stopped short of calling for an outright ban on the burqa, but the proposal put forward on Friday tiptoes along a path that 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 and are often worn with a hijab, a head scarf that does not cover the face, which German officials acknowledge would not win approval from the country’s constitutional court.

It would ban full face veils in schools and colleges, and while driving, appearing before courts or at public registry offices, or when going through passport control. Women who want to wear a face veil in public should not teach or become civil servants, Mr. de Maizière said in announcing the plan on morning television.

“We want to make it a legal requirement to show your face in places where that is necessary for the cohesion of our society,” he said.

He was flanked by the conservative leaders of two states with elections next month — Lorenz Caffier of the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Frank Henkel of the city-state of Berlin. Both men are running on strong law-and-order platforms and had called for a ban on veils.
This is all about the elections.

Merkel has managed to burn through a lot of good will from the German electorate with her handling of the Syrian refugee crisis, and this is an attempt at damage control.

*Horses whinnying.


Post a Comment