Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Giustizia, Unione Europea

Corti di Giustizia. Cinque anni fa era tutto l’opposto.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-21.

Tribunale 010

In illo tempore, vigeva questa regola:

Despite CDU-CSU push, Germany can’t legally ban burqas

«Several German politicians have called on the country to follow France, Belgium and a Swiss region in banning full-body coverings. But Germany’s constitution prevents this – and hardly anyone wears them here anyway.»

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Parole pesanti come macigni.

«Germany’s constitution prevents this»

La Carta Fondamentale tedesca non consente di proibire il burqa.

Una legge in tale senso sarebbe anticostituzionale, antidemocratica, razzista e xenofoba!

«Human rights groups have called the move racist and xenophobic.»

L’allora Ministro degli Interni tedesco era stato tranchant:

«federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere expressly left the prospect of a burqa ban out of the raft of security measures he presented on Thursday, saying that “you can’t ban everything you oppose” before pointing out that the idea was “constitutionally problematic.” In fact, “constitutionally impossible” might have been a better way of putting it: According to the Constitutional Court, the Basic Law’s guarantee of religious freedom precludes any such ban.»

Concetto severamente ribadito:

«The Constitutional Court made clear that, in a society that gives space to different religious beliefs, individuals do not have the right to be shielded from professions of faith by others»

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Caspiterina!

La società civile della Germania e tutti i partiti laici, democratici ed antifascisti erano solidalmente concordi.

Ça va sans dire, la Suprema Corte di Karlsruhe, la Corte Costituzionale tedesca, era stata durissima: i diritti delle donne mussulmane sono sacri, inviolabili, sono “diritti fondamentali”: la Germania mica è un’accozzaglia nazionalsocialista, mica è quella fetenzia xenofoba e razzista di Pegida oppure di Alternative für Deutschland, fenomeni marginali da eradicare al più presto, alieni al comune sentire tedesco (traduzione libera ma che dovrebbe rendere l’idea).

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Poi venne il 24 settembre 2017.

Germany’s top court rejects full-face veiled driver’s complaint

«The woman, who wears a niqab, had argued a law against driving with the face covered violated her religious freedom. Germany’s top court rejected her motion.

Germany’s top court on Monday rejected a Muslim woman’s request to suspend a ban on driving while wearing a face veil.

The woman had argued that the face veil ban for drivers violated her religious freedom.

The Karlsruhe-based court found the woman, who has worn the niqab for seven years, failed to explain how the law violated her religious freedom or why she faced harm driving unveiled.»

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Europe’s top court upholds Belgian full-face veil ban

«The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a Belgian ban on the public wearing of the full-face veil. The case was brought to the court by two Muslim women who said the ban violated their rights.»

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Bundestag bans face veils for civil servants amid security measures

«In a late night sitting, the lower house of parliament has approved a raft of security measures and a draft ban on face veils. The ban would only apply to civil servants in Germany.»

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Five years into ban, burqa divide widens in France

«Five years on, some say a ban on facial coverings has only made France’s social divide worse. One man has made it his mission to pay the fines of violators in the name of human rights. Jake Cigainero reports from Paris.»

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Burka banned in Belgium

«Wearing the full-face veil will be punishable by a fine or even imprisonment from Saturday.»

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Dutch lawmakers endorse limited burqa ban

«The House of Representatives in the Netherlands has voted in favor of prohibiting the face-covering burqa and niqab in some public places. The government has insisted the move is soley for security purposes.»

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Bulgarian lawmakers ban full-face Islamic veil to boost ‘safety’

«Bulgaria’s parliament has voted to ban the wearing of face-covering veils in public after similar measures were adopted in some western European countries. Human rights groups have called the move racist and xenophobic.»

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Austria to ban ‘full-face veil’ in public spaces, says Kern

«The Austrian chancellor has announced a new policy program to fend off the challenge of the far-right. The niqab ban is to avoid giving Austrian Muslims the “feeling that they are not part of our society,” he said.»

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Stessa identica Carta Fondamentale, stessi identici codici, stessi identici giudici (si direbbe che siano eterni), stesso identico problema.

Due verdetti opposti.

Poi non si venga a dire che il 24 settembre 2017 non abbia cambiato l’Europa e la Germania.

Nota.

Un giudice non è liberal se sostiene i principi e la ideologia liberal: è liberal se è ossequioso servo del potere, qualsiasi esso sia.

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Unione Europea

Baviera. Banditi niqab e burqa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-02-23.

2017-02-23__baviera-banditi-niqab-e-burqa-__001

«Germany’s southeastern state of Bavaria announced late on Tuesday that it had approved a ban on face veils in certain public spaces»

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«Women wearing a niqab or burqa are hindering communication and public safety»

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«A communicative exchange takes place not only through speech, but also through looks, expressions and gestures»

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«a full-face veil is to be prohibited in the fields of civil service, universities, schools, kindergartens, in the fields of public general safety and order, and at elections»

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«The CSU has an absolute majority in Bavaria’s state parliament»

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Il numero di donne islamiche che in Baviera portino il niqab oppure il burqa è molto basso: difficilmente si potrebbe dire che possano essere più di un migliaio.

Quindi, questo provvedimento ricalca, anche se parzialmente, uno analogo preso anni or sono in Francia, e sembrerebbe essere più una affermazione di principio che una risposta pratica ad un reale problema.

In effetti ambedue queste tipologie di veli sono state introdotte nella vita islamica solo recentemente, non sono caratteristica dell’intero islam, ed hanno assunto negli ultimi decenni una chiara connotazione politica di fondamentalismo religioso.

Questa legge è quindi un monito, più diretto alla politica interna bavarese e tedesca che non agli islamici.

In questa Unione Europea non sono temibili gli islamici, quanto piuttosto i loro fiancheggiatori e patroni politici, che li hanno usato e tuttora li usano come arma impropria per scardinare il sistema.

Nota.

Si prende atto in ogni caso come nel corso delle frequenti manifestazioni di piazza la polizia tolleri che i dimostranti indossino caschi integrali oppure passamontagna. Tollera anche che procurino ingenti danni a beni personali e pubblici.


Deutsche Welle. 2017-02-22. Bavaria approves ban on full-face veil

The government of Bavaria has agreed to a new law which will ban certain Muslim religious clothing from public spaces. The decision came as German conservatives try to win back voters from the anti-immigration AfD party.

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Germany’s southeastern state of Bavaria announced late on Tuesday that it had approved a ban on face veils in certain public spaces. Women wearing a niqab or burqa are hindering communication and public safety, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said following a cabinet meeting.

“A communicative exchange takes place not only through speech, but also through looks, expressions and gestures,” Hermann told the press. “It forms the foundation of our interpersonal relationships and is the basis of our society and free and democratic order.”

According to the new draft legislation, a full-face veil is to be prohibited “in the fields of civil service, universities, schools, kindergartens, in the fields of public general safety and order, and at elections.”

Bavaria is governed by the right-leaning conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the smaller sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). The CSU has an absolute majority in Bavaria’s state parliament, which Herrmann said is expected to pass the law by the summer break.

The move is a timely one. As Germany prepares for federal elections in September, there are fears of losing votes to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and worries that Merkel has moved her party so far to the center that it is not longer recognizable.

A non-issue?

The chancellor expressed her support for such a ban in December, saying it should be implemented “wherever legally possible.” As the front line of the influx of more than a million often Muslim refugees and migrants into Germany over the past two years, Bavaria has also had to deal with increasing concerns about domestic security and the integration of migrants into mainstream culture.

However, many have criticized the move not only as contrary to religious freedom but also a distracting non-issue being exploited for political purposes. The German government does not have official statistics on how many women wear a full-face veil. Multiple German media reports have estimated that fewer than 300 women wear a niqab regularly, and that extremely few, if any, wore a burqa.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Sistemi Economici, Unione Europea

Olanda. Burqa e niqab parzialmente banditi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-11-30.

 niqab-001

Quando lo diceva Geert Wilders gli piovevano addosso accuse infamanti: populista, razzista, xenofobo, nazista, antislamico, nazionalista, omofobo, e così via.

«”The law is adopted,” said House Speaker Khadija Arib after 132 of the 150-member chamber voted in favor of the bill»

Adesso con 132 voti a favore su di una Camera di 150 membri burqua e niqab sono banditi in tutti i posti ove il riconoscimento del volto sia cosa logica. La legge vieta inoltre esplicitamente il volto coperto, per esempio, da maschere o caschi.

Gran brutto colpo anche per i dimostranti cronici, quelli ai quali la sinistra imperante ci aveva abituato negli ultimi cinquanta anni.

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I tempi stanno cambiando e le elezioni politiche del marzo 2017 sono disperatamente vicine. Sembrerebbe essere inverosimile che il Partito della Libertà di Geert Wilders conquisti più del trenta per cento dell’elettorato: gli diamo però atto di aver rotto gli equilibri. Le sinistre olandesi sono formazioni disgregate e battute.

L’Olanda si avvia ad essere un altro stato dell’Unione che in Commissione Europea non appoggerà più le politiche di Mr Juncker e di Frau Merkel. I due si troveranno disperatamente soli: loro e le loro ideologie.

 


Deutsche Welle. 2016-11-30. Dutch lawmakers endorse limited burqa ban

The House of Representatives in the Netherlands has voted in favor of prohibiting the face-covering burqa and niqab in some public places. The government has insisted the move is soley for security purposes.

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The lower house of Dutch parliament on Tuesday approved by a wide margin a partial ban on wearing face-covering garments. The law, which follows similar legislation in Belgium and France, now moves on to the Senate before it can become law.

“The law is adopted,” said House Speaker Khadija Arib after 132 of the 150-member chamber voted in favor of the bill.

This new measure forbids Islamic religious garb like the burqa and niqab, as well as ski masks and face-hiding helmets in public places where individuals may need to be identified, such as schools, hospitals, government buildings and public transport. The government had already pulled back from an earlier plan to also forbid the face-covering veil on the street.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet had originally proposed the measure in 2015, saying there was a “necessity to be able to interact face-to-face, for instance in places where public services are performed and safety must be guaranteed.”

People are not forbidden from wearing full-face protection while working, playing a sport or participating in a “festive or cultural event.”

A full ban on wearing the burqa or niqab has been one of the major platform points of the right-wing populist Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, which is polling favorably ahead of the March 2017 parliamentary election.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Religioni, Terrorismo Islamico, Unione Europea

Burqa. Simbolo politico non indumento islamico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-08-28.

 2016-08-27__Burqa__Miss Turkey

Difficilmente qualcuno potrebbe contestare che i turki non siano islamici. Questa è la homepage della Organizzazione di Miss Turkia 2016, messa in rete da un provider turko.

Questa invece è un particolare tratto dalla homepage di Al Arabyia. Anche in questo caso sarà ben difficile sostenere che non si tratti di islamici di provata fede. Eppure la sig.ra Brooklyn Middleton vi è ritratta a viso scoperto e capelli raggruppati.

2016-08-27__Burqa__Al Arabiya 001

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La conclusione dovrebbe essere semplice: il burqua non è di per sé stesso un indumento mandatorio per le donne islamiche, né, di conseguenza, è un simbolo religioso islamico.

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Alla Sura XXIV, 31 il Corano impone alle donne islamiche l’obbligo di indossare una qualche indumento, genericamente chiamato “velo” nel testo, per ricoprire in pubblico ciò che contraddistingue la loro femminilità.

«E di’ alle credenti di abbassare i loro sguardi ed essere caste e di non mostrare, dei loro ornamenti, se non quello che appare; di lasciar scendere il loro velo fin sul petto e non mostrare i loro ornamenti ad altri che ai loro mariti, ai loro padri, ai padri dei loro mariti, ai loro figli, ai figli dei loro mariti, ai loro fratelli, ai figli dei loro fratelli, ai figli delle loro sorelle, alle loro donne, alle schiave che possiedono, ai servi maschi che non hanno desiderio, ai ragazzi impuberi che non hanno interesse per le parti nascoste delle donne».

Da molti punti di vista è norma di elementare buon senso: non buttare benzina sul fuoco, tenere gli inneschi lontani dal tritolo. La pudicizia protegge la donna.

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All’interno del mondo islamico la foggia del velo varia da zona a zona, ed in talune nazioni è anche caduto in disuso. Potremmo, grosso modo, distinguere alcune tipologie.

–  Khimar: termine coranico. Usualmente indica un mantello che copra dalla testa in giù: alcuni modelli arrivano fino a sotto i fianchi, altri fino alle caviglie. Può o meno avere un velo che copra anche il viso.

–  Jilbab: termine coranico. Denomina un abito che copra completamente il corpo della donna. “Abaya” è sinonimo di uso corrente. È usato prevalentemente nei paesi del Golfo Persico.

Niqab: Velo di tradizione preislamica. Copre l’intero corpo della donna, lasciando solo una fessura per gli occhi. usualmente è composto di un pezzo superiore, che avvolge il capo, e di uno inferiore per il corpo.

È l’abito indossato tipicamente in Arabia Saudita ed è altrettanto usualmente associato alla corrente wahhabita. Ha come variante l’uso del solo pezzo superiore, specialmente in Egitto e nell’Africa settentrionale in genere: prende anche nome di hijab.

Chador: Abito che copre da capo a piedi, lasciando però libero tutto il viso. È il tipico indumento muliebre iraniano e, solitamente, è di colore nero.

Burqa: Di colore azzurro, è simile al niqab ma presenta all’altezza degli occhi una griglia per la visione. Il burqa è tipico dell’Afganistan e del Pakistan.

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Né ci si illuda che tali abiti sfuggano a vezzi della moda: la stima per l’anno corrente assomma a 322 miliardi di dollari americani spesi per l’acquisto delle infinite variati di tali indumenti. Non ci si illuda che le donne musulmane non siano femmine fino al midollo.

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A molti sembrerebbe però sfuggire il fatto che fu il re dell’Afganistan  Habibullah Kalakānī ad introdurre l’uso del burqa nel 1880, facendolo indossare alle proprie concubine. In un lampo la moda si propagò in tutti i ceti abbienti del regno, e fu lestamente imitata dalle donne della gente comune.

Caduto quasi completamente in disuso a partire dagli anni cinquanta, il regime telebano ne impose l’uso, considerandolo simbolo di appartenenza a quella corrente religiosa e politica.

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Conclusioni.

Il burqua non ha proprio nulla a che fare con la tradizione islamica.

Non è simbolo di fede islamica, bensì di appartenenza alla setta telebana, forse più nota per le sue azioni terroristiche che per la sua fede religiosa.

Si resta alquanto stupiti dell’attuale diatriba cui stiamo assistendo in Europa su burqa sì burqa no: non si riesce a capre cosa c’entri con il burqa religione e femminismo. Il burqa è un ben preciso simbolo politico.

Valls, il burkini è l’affermazione dell’islam politico nei luoghi pubblici.

«non mette in dubbio in alcun modo la questione della libertà individuale …. il burkini è l’affermazione dell’Islam politico nei luoghi pubblici»

2016-08-28__Burka__003

Si constata come in Germania sia reato penale esporre in luoghi pubblici segni religiosi, per esempio un Crocefisso, mentre la Corte Suprema ritenga incostituzionale proibire l’uso pubblico del burqa.

Il problema è soltanto politico e nemmeno islamico. È il risultato della lotta tra la fazione europea islamofila, più in generale le sinistre europee che vorrebbero sostituire agli autoctoni gli immigrati clandestini di quella religione, e quanti invece hanno ancora a cuore le tradizioni religiose, storiche, culturali e sociali europee.


Deutsche Welle. 2016-08-27. Survey: Germans want a burqa ban.

A new poll has indicated that more than three quarters of Germans don’t want to see a full body veil in public places. The issue is currently the subject of heated debate across the country – and the rest of Europe.

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A large majority of Germans reject the burqa. Some 81 percent of respondents in a representative survey conducted by polling institute Infratest dimap are in favor of banning the Islamic veil, which covers women completely from head to toe, in some public places.

More than half of Germans have an even more extreme view – 51 percent were in favor of banning the burqa entirely. Infratest dimap polled 1,008 German adults for public broadcaster ARD on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Roughly one-third of them (30 percent) support a partial ban of the veil for state employees and in school. Just 15 percent opposed any sort of burqa ban altogether.

The new poll also revealed what Germans see as priorities their politicians should tackle. Twenty-five percent of respondents said the most pressing topic was domestic security and the fight against terrorism, just 12 percent view migrant integration as a priority. Germany has been rocked by several small-scale terrorist attacks this summer.

Security expert Peter Neumann does not believe that banning the burqa would help make Germany safer.

“That’s merely a feigned solution,” Neumann, a professor of security studies at King’s College London and director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, told news agency DPA. “I don’t know of a single case in which a burqa ban stopped a terrorist attack or hindered someone’s descent into terrorism.”

Burqa not a part of an open Islam

Amid the renewed debate in Germany, some conservative politicians in the country are calling for a “burqa ban.” State interior ministers of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) want to ban veils like the burqa and the niqab in public places including schools, public authorities, court rooms and in traffic. In France, a law like this has been in effect since April 2011. The ministers also discussed prohibiting the veils altogether, but that idea was rejected by federal German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (CDU).

“I think we should ban wearing a fully concealing veil in public by law,” CDU politician Clemens Binninger told the weekly “Frankfurter Allgemeine Woche” newspaper. “Such a law would have great societal support and thus stands a good chance of garnering a political majority as well.”

Several Islamic scholars in Germany agree. They say the burqa and the niqab are not required in their religion and believe that the extreme veils hinder integration. Aziz Fooladvand, a Bonn sociologist and Islamic Studies scholar, told DW that facial coverings are common only in very strict interpretations of Sunni Islam, such as that practiced in Saudi Arabia. But in Egypt, for example, wearing a niqab is generally frowned upon.

Bassam Tibi, a former professor of international relations at the University of Göttingen, calls himself a “European Muslim” and says that he supports an open, liberal Islam. In an August op-ed for popular German tabloid “Bild,” he wrote that he fully supported a burqa ban:

“A burqa ban would be a smart political measure against certain people sealing themselves off in parallel societies, for an integration that includes Muslim migrants and for the safety of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Women’s decisions should be respected

While less than one-fifth of respondents in the Infratest dimap poll opposed the ban, there are voices speaking up against prohibiting veils like burqa or niqab in any way. Gabriele Boos-Niazy, chairwoman of the German Alliance of Muslim Women, believes that an adult woman should be allowed to make her own decisions – including what to wear.

When a German court this week prohibited a Muslim woman from wearing her niqab to night school classes, Boos-Niazy called the decision “patronizing and inappropriate.”

Muslim-German blogger Hatice Kahraman writes that she doesn’t know a single Muslim woman in Germany who wears the burqa and wonders why a debate is raging on “something that doesn’t exist.”

“In Germany, we haven’t really understood the concept of being open toward other cultures yet,” Kahraman writes. “If we’re being honest, the debate surrounding the burqa is nothing but unnecessary fear mongering and provides another platform for racism.”


Deutsche Welle. 2016-08-27. Court verdict: no niqabs in German school

A student in the German town of Osnabrück won’t be allowed to wear her veil to class. The decision comes at a time of heated discussion concerning a nation-wide burqa ban in Germany.

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The student, who insisted on wearing her niqab to school, has been denied by a local administrative court. The Sophie Scholl night school in Osnabrück in the northern German state of Lower Saxony had originally accepted the student but reversed its decision when it became clear how she wanted to dress in class.

On Friday, the student had appealed to the Osnabrück Administrative Court. The case was heard just three days later on Monday. Things moved fast because, as a court spokesperson said, “every school day counts.”

The court had ordered the woman to appear in person at the hearing on Monday to defend her reasons. When she didn’t do that because of the media attention the case attracted, the court said its only possible action was to deny her claim.

Calling for a burqa ban

There are no details available on the student except for the fact that she’s a German national and that she’s not a minor anymore, which in Germany means she’s at least 18. Night schools like Sophie Scholl are usually a way for adults to obtain a diploma they didn’t manage to get when they went to school as teenagers.

The case comes at a time when the entire country, not just one school in Osnabrück, is discussing what kinds of veils Muslim women should be allowed to wear in Germany. The interior ministers of states governed by the conservative CDU called for a ban of the niqab and the burqa in public places. With a niqab, the wearer’s face is completely veiled except for a small eye slit. The burqa is a blue garment that covers a woman’s entire body, including her face. It only leaves a mesh screen to see through.

Conservative politicians want the concealing veils banned from public places, including public authority buildings, courtrooms – and schools.

“We unanimously reject the burqa,” Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told public TV network ZDF. “It does not fit in our open country.”

DW’s editor-in-chief, Alexander Kudascheff wrote in a recent op-ed that a burqa ban made sense because it “shows that an open society will not accept just anything.”

Some legal experts, however, say a ban wouldn’t even be possible because Germany’s constitution guarantees religious freedom. And liberal politicians like Thuringia state premier Bodo Ramelow (Left Party) accuse the CDU of moving toward the right edge of the political spectrum and trying to win over right-wing voters in upcoming state elections.

Open communication a must

The Sophie Scholl School didn’t want the student to wear her niqab for two reasons. One was that they couldn’t identify her – someone else could take a test for her, for example. To remedy this, the student had suggested she could show her face to a female school official before class each night, but the school didn’t accept that.

The other reason was that school officials believe that the open communication needed in education would not be possible if only the student’s eyes are visible.

Open communication “is not just based on the spoken word but also on non-verbal elements and body language,” a statement from Lower Saxony’s school authority reads. “To facilitate that kind of communication, it is essential that the students’ faces are visible.”

Teaching respect for different cultures

Not all teachers share that opinion. Two educators who spoke with DW said they would allow their students to wear a niqab in their classroom.

“I believe that respect for different customs is important, and that’s what our school guidelines say as well: we have to teach children to be respectful of different cultures,” a teacher in Hamburg said.

“I would allow it. It makes participating in class harder but not impossible,” Robert, a teacher in Lower Saxony, told DW. “Communication issues that arise from wearing the niqab would be the student’s problem, though. If she got a lower participation grade because of that, I wouldn’t give her bonus points to make up for it.”


Deutsche Welle. 2016-08-12. Despite CDU-CSU push, Germany can’t legally ban burqas

Several German politicians have called on the country to follow France, Belgium and a Swiss region in banning full-body coverings. But Germany’s constitution prevents this – and hardly anyone wears them here anyway.

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Julia Klöckner’s opinion is fairly typical of that of many politicians in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU): “The full-body veil is not a sign of religious diversity, but stands for a degrading image of women,” the party’s deputy leader told the “Bild” newspaper this week.

It’s not the first time that a conservative German politician has called for a public ban on the full-body coverings worn by some Muslim women – but the debate has resurfaced with extra persistence recently, even though very few women wear such garments in the country.

(The commonly used phrase “burqa ban” is something of a misnomer in a German context: The burqa, a loose cloak where the eyes are also covered with a mesh, is virtually unknown – though the niqab, where the eyes are visible, is occasionally seen.)

Two CDU state interior ministers have brought up the prospect of a ban in the past few weeks. “I consider a burqa ban to be absolutely desirable,” Frank Henkel, the interior minister for the state of Berlin, told the local “Tagesspiegel” newspaper on Wednesday.

Henkel was soon echoed by Lorenz Caffier, his counterpart in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, who believes that “a voluntary and certainly a forced facial covering stands in conflict with free cooperative living in a free society.”

Some commentators have suggested that it might not be a coincidence that both Henkel and Caffier face elections in September – and a significant threat from the right-wing Alternative for Germany, which has made opposition to Islam one of its central policy tenets.

‘Constitutionally problematic’

In the end, federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere expressly left the prospect of a burqa ban out of the raft of security measures he presented on Thursday, saying that “you can’t ban everything you oppose” before pointing out that the idea was “constitutionally problematic.”

In fact, “constitutionally impossible” might have been a better way of putting it: According to the Constitutional Court, the Basic Law’s guarantee of religious freedom precludes any such ban. The Bundestag picked up on this in an assessment it published in 2014. “The Constitutional Court made clear that, in a society that gives space to different religious beliefs, individuals do not have the right to be shielded from professions of faith by others,” the report said. “There is no right in public spaces to be protected from religious influences in the social environment.”

The Bundestag’s assessment was written after the European Court of Human Rights confirmed in 2014 that France did indeed have the right to ban full-body veils in public – because France’s constitution foregrounds secularism in public life (laicite) over religious freedom, and, the ECHR ruled, in any case the decision was primarily France’s to make.

In 2011, France became the second European country to impose such a ban, after Belgium in 2010 and before a Swiss region did so following a referendum in 2013. In all cases exceptions for motorcycle helmets and carnival masks had to be passed into law before the ban came into effect.

‘Forced into liberation’

Nevertheless, the ECHR did deny some of the reasoning that France offered. For instance, protecting women was not accepted as a valid legal argument: “They said equality cannot be forced on a woman,” said Jasper Finke, a professor at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg who has published articles on the issue. “Women can’t be forced into ‘liberation.'”

Nor did the ECHR accept that security could be used a legal argument, as there was no evidence that full-body coverings represent a direct threat. “The court said: ‘No, abstract security concerns don’t count – you have to have concrete evidence why the burqa represents a special security threat,'” Finke said. “Though there are isolated examples of suicide bombers in Afghanistan hiding belts inside burqas, you don’t need a burqa to hide a belt.”

“In fact, virtually all European countries with a written constitution guarantee religious freedom,” Finke said. “But it’s understood to different extents in different countries.”

“That’s the difference between Germany and France,” Finke said. “We don’t have that strict division between state and religion here, which is so deeply rooted in their social convictions. The question is: How is ‘living together’ defined? Social pluralism means people are different, and that is expressed in different religions and different clothing, and to a certain extent the state has a duty to protect that pluralism.”

“It’s an extremely heavily debated issue,” Finke said. “There are certainly good reasons why you might ban [full-body coverings]. But there are just as good reasons why you wouldn’t. The question is: How strongly does the Constitutional Court emphasize the state’s obligation to neutrality and the obligation to promote real social and religious pluralism?”