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Angela Merkel endorses burka ban 'wherever legally possible'

7:50 am - 12/06/2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the wearing of full-faced veils should be prohibited in the country "wherever it is legally possible".

At a meeting of her CDU party, she backed a burka ban in schools, courts and other state buildings.

It is widely accepted that a total ban would violate Germany's constitution.

Mrs Merkel was re-elected CDU leader but faces a tough challenge by the right-wing anti-immigration AfD party in next year's polls.

She has seen her approval ratings slip since her decision to allow about a million asylum seekers into German during last year's Europe-wide migrant crisis.

However the centre-right chancellor, who has been power since 2005, still retains wide support.

She was re-elected Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader on Tuesday with 89.5% of the votes cast by about 1,000 delegates.

Mrs Merkel told the annual CDU congress in the city of Essen that it was right to expect integration from newcomers.

She expressed support for a proposal, outlined in August by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, to outlaw the burka or any full-face veil in public buildings.

In German culture, she said, it was not appropriate for women to completely cover their faces and the full veil "should be banned wherever it is legally possible".

The BBC's Jenny Hill in Berlin says it is the first time that the chancellor has made such comments in a major speech.

In recent months, the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) has capitalised on a wave of anger over last year's migrant crisis, and made strong gains in regional elections.

Polls suggest the AfD currently has 12% support nationally.

Its success is mirrored by that of populist, anti-establishment parties in other European countries where elections are also due next year.

In France - where the full-face veil has been banned in all public places since 2010 - the far-right National Front (FN) is credited with 30% support ahead of a presidential poll.

In the Netherlands, where elections are due in March, opinion polls suggest the right-wing populist Freedom Party (PVV) is neck and neck with the governing liberal VVD.

blackjedii 6th-Dec-2016 04:02 pm (UTC)
Mm I suspect she is trying to shore up her base before she gets Brexitrump'd. I can't see Merkl really GAF about that in particular...

but still

bad show mate. way to feed into the exact problem you're trying to solve.

Edited at 2016-12-06 04:07 pm (UTC)
petecarl Re: 6th-Dec-2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
yamair Re: 6th-Dec-2016 06:01 pm (UTC)
Mm I suspect she is trying to shore up her base before she gets Brexitrump'd.

Sadly it seems this is what needs to be done nowadays, but I'm not even going to hate. I too doubt she cares, this is to play to that crowd and I'd rather she win than Germany go far-right. Plus if anything is imposed, it will probably get overturned once challenged, like what happened in France.

Edited at 2016-12-06 06:02 pm (UTC)
mimblexwimble 6th-Dec-2016 08:17 pm (UTC)
The "say anything to win" strategy "for the greater good" ignores that, even if nothing is ever imposed, statements like these aren't without consequences for the people they're about.
lied_ohne_worte Re: 6th-Dec-2016 09:08 pm (UTC)
She's going to win anyway, unless the country goes to the left. There is no way in hell the AfD will get a majority in parliament, even if they were a lot stronger than the polls indicate, as there's no other party that will go into a coalition with them. If the AfD is very strong and gets voters from the CDU, we'll likely end up with a coalition of the left/center-left parties.

This is probably to appease the more right-wing parts of Merkel's own party. And the way she's worded it, she's expecting that the Constitutional court would strike most of such a ban down. She's used that before - not doing much on gay rights because it was clear that the Constitutional Court would say that things needed improvement, so she could tell the right-wingers in her own camp that she had to.

Edited at 2016-12-06 09:11 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - Anonymous
soleiltropiques 9th-Dec-2016 08:40 pm (UTC)

Also, I wonder when racism will cease being an 'electoral tactic' and start being unnacceptable, period.

It's really not complicated.
calinewarkwc69 6th-Dec-2016 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna say No. Let women wear whatever the fuck they want. End of story.
mustikas 6th-Dec-2016 04:34 pm (UTC)
And... opportunistic, calculating Merkel has come out of hiding again. No surprise here. I'm really dreading our election next year.
blackjedii 6th-Dec-2016 05:08 pm (UTC)
it takes work to be the most powerful woman in teh world

i mean otherwise she couldn't go into the men's locker room after national soccer matches and see schweinsteiger nekkid
mustikas 6th-Dec-2016 05:49 pm (UTC)
Well she can't see Schweini after national soccer matches anymore, so maybe that should be her cue to retire.
lied_ohne_worte 6th-Dec-2016 09:10 pm (UTC)
Or tell him off after he got a red card. That incident of (as they later related) him sitting in the stands with her, them talking about football, and her telling him not to do it again is just too funny.
mimblexwimble 6th-Dec-2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
Damn, I just saw an article about Germany being the final pillar of liberal democracy in Europe.
omgitsalexis 6th-Dec-2016 04:43 pm (UTC)

Im really surprised by this :(

mareen 6th-Dec-2016 04:50 pm (UTC)

I don't see the problem here. She is proposing a ban in state buildings as in courts or schools, not the whole country.  Especially in courts you can't not be able to see people's faces. And I think the same is true in schools and other state buildings. 
I agree that women should be able to wear what they want to wear. But there are places where that's just not possible. 

mimblexwimble 6th-Dec-2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
So few German Muslim women and Muslim women living in Germany cover their faces that I don't believe this is a problem that is actually, in practice, causing any issues. The courts and schools are not teeming with women covering their faces. This is a symbolic gesture, and it is meant to appeal specifically to her supporters who think she's been "too easy" on Muslims and allowed too many migrants in to the country. She's capitalizing on the anger of the right before the election next year. There hasn't been any thought put into this--so whether or not it's possible to cover your face in state buildings or at school is almost irrelevant.

Beyond that, there's always going to be a problem in targeting a very specific piece of clothing worn by a specific minority for a ban. I don't much like the face veil (and I am a Muslim woman who wore one for years at one point), and I can see that there are situations where it would pose a security risk to be unable to see a person's face, but that's not what her comments are about and that's not why she's suggesting this ban.
mustikas 6th-Dec-2016 05:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. This really is just pandering to the extreme right within and outside of her party.
lightframes 7th-Dec-2016 12:17 am (UTC)
I was gonna say. I mean I live in the U.S. but I've never actually seen a woman wearing one so I didn't think it was that big of a problem.
evewithanapple 7th-Dec-2016 01:17 am (UTC)
We had a similar debate in Canada during the last federal election, only the ruling party proposed a niqab ban for people in civil service rather than a blanket burqa ban. (Tbh, I'd be surprised if they knew the difference.) People who worked in civil service overwhelmingly said that the niqab had never been a problem- so few women in civil service wore niqabs, it just never came up. It was only an issue because the government made it one.
moonshaz 7th-Dec-2016 03:48 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if I understand this. I just looked up the terms to refresh my memory, and what I found says that the nikab is the one where you can see the woman's eyes, and the burqa is the one where every single bit of her face is concealed. (I only know this because .) So why would they propose a niqab ban but not a burqa ban, when the burqa is more extreme? Or have I got things mixed up?

It's probably not cool to admit this, but for the record, burqas (by which I mean the garment that completely covers he woman from head to toe, concealing her face entirely), creep me the fuck out. I'm not proud of feeling that way, and I'm in favor of women having the freedom to dress however they want. But damn, those things are so dehumanizing. Women wearing them don't look human; they look like ghosts or walking tents, and it really bothers me. I've never actually seen anyone wearing one in the US (not that I've been EVERYWHERE in the US, but where I've been), and I hope they never become common over here.
evewithanapple 7th-Dec-2016 04:32 am (UTC)
You haven't got anything mixed up. I really don't know why they went with the niqab ban rather than the burqa, because it didn't make any sense. It started out with them saying that niqabs could let people sneak in during citizenship ceremonies (we have a mechanism in place for that- the woman wearing the niqab goes into a private room with a female officer and takes her veil off to confirm her identity) and then expanded to everyone in civil service. It was an election tactic, and fortunately it failed.
frelling_tralk 7th-Dec-2016 10:33 am (UTC)
Butting in to say that I suspect that it's because people get the burqa and niqab confused? Here in the U.K you hear a lot of outrage over wanting to ban the burqa etc, when I think that people are generally thinking of the face covering that does allow a space for the eyes. I've hardly ever seen anyone wearing a burqa (literally only one time that I can think of), whereas the niqab is a somewhat common sight. The general public seem to associate all face coverings with 'burqa', but I wonder if it's the same thing in Canada where it's actually the niqab that people are wearing, and so that's what the ban concerns?

And it's a tricky subject to talk about as a non Muslim, but I know what you mean about the burqa, it makes me very uncomfortable to think of a woman being so shut off from the world that she can only see out through a strip of mesh
mimblexwimble 7th-Dec-2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
Don't worry, we're 100% human.
invisiblegirlx 7th-Dec-2016 05:03 am (UTC)
running to the right to avoid losing I see
soleiltropiques 9th-Dec-2016 08:21 pm (UTC)
Wow, um, just no.

People should be allowed to wear what they want, period.
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