Germany may soon be following the footsteps of France, Belgium and Switzerland by banning women from wearing face veils. Conservatives in the country are calling for a law that will prohibit women from wearing a face veil in certain environments. According to Lorenz Caffier, interior minister for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, body veils inhibit integration.
"We all reject the full veil - not only the burqa but also other types of full veil that only leave the eyes visible ... It has no place in our society," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters on Friday, reports Reuters. "Baring one's face is essential for our communication, co-existence and social cohesion and that's why we're asking everyone to show their faces. We want to introduce a law to make people show their faces and that means that those who breach that law will have to feel the consequences."
The proposals suggest banning civil servants, teachers, students at school and universities, and judges and witnesses in court to wear full veil. The conservative ministers also want to mandate that women show their face while behind the wheel, when they register with authorities, at demonstrations and at passport controls.
Germany is home to four million Muslims, which make up five percent of the nation’s population. According to Aiman Mazyek, the leader of the Central Council of Muslims, there are no hard figures on how many women wear a burqa (a full body veil) or a niqab (a traditional Islamic headscarf that covers hair and face, excluding eyes).
The fairness of banning veils has been publicly discussed since three cities in France, which has banned the burqa and niqab since 2010, have banned the burkini — full body-covering swimwear. Advocates of the law maintain that the ban liberates women while those opposed argue that banning an article of clothing is oppressive.