‘We Show our Face, we are Not Burqa’ says German Interior Minister

Published May 3rd, 2017 - 06:44 GMT
"We are an open society. We show our face. We are not burqa," Thomas de Maiziere wrote. (AFP)
"We are an open society. We show our face. We are not burqa," Thomas de Maiziere wrote. (AFP)

The burqa has no place in a German society, the interior minister said in a guest editorial for Bild am Sonntagnewspaper published on Saturday.

"We are an open society. We show our face. We are not burqa," Thomas de Maiziere wrote.

He called for laws to protect his country's "dominant culture".

"There is something beyond our language, constitution, and respect for fundamental rights that binds us in our hearts, that makes us different, and distinguishes us from others," he said.

"We attach importance to certain social habits, not for themselves, but because they are expressions of a certain attitude," he added.

"We give our names. We shake hands. We ban masks at public demonstrations. To 'show face' is the expression of our democratic coexistence."

His comments come days after lawmakers approved a partial ban on the full-face veil and a series of security measured aimed at preventing extremist attacks.

Thursday's new law on facial coverings however fell short of a total ban in public places demanded by right-wing parties, like that in effect in neighbouring France since 2011.

The ruling will apply to public servants – including election officials, military and judicial staff – performing their duties. 

Germany has since 2015 taken in more than one million migrants and refugees, most from predominantly Muslim countries.

This has stoked a xenophobic backlash and boosted the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party, which has attempted to link the influx to a heightened threat of terrorism.


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