German Politician Proposes Burqa Ban

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A senior German politician has called for a partial ban on Muslim women being able to wear the full-face veil. Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s interior minister, said the burqa is incompatible with Germany's "open society" and that showing the face was necessary for social cohesion, the BBC reported.

He proposed banning it in some public places, including schools, universities, in public offices and while driving. Speaking on Friday morning, de Maizière said: "We reject the full veil – not just the burka but the other forms of full veil where only the eyes are visible," reported the BBC.

"It doesn't fit in with our open society. Showing the face is a constituent element for our communication, the way we live, our social cohesion. That is why we call on everyone to show their face." He added that no one would be allowed to "work in public service" while wearing the full-face veil and that anyone who breaks the rule "must feel the consequences".

For a ban to become law, it would first need to be approved by the German parliament.

De Maizière's proposal comes at a time of heightened religious and racial tension in Germany, after a series of attacks claimed by Islamic State and a record number of Muslims seeking asylum in the country.

The burqa is also a topic of heated debate in Europe at the moment. Just last week, the Mayor of Cannes banned burkinis (full-body swimsuits) on the French resort's beaches and other coastal towns in France have introduced similar measures. Seven municipalities have banned burkinis or are planning to do so, reported The Washington Post, and the burqa has been banned in France since 2010.

The burqa was also banned in Ticino in Switzerland last month, making it illegal for women to cover their faces in public. Women who wear them risk an £8,000 fine.

Those who support the ban claim it's a necessary stance against the oppression of women, while critics say it threatens wearers' human rights and and alienates Muslims.

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