Angela Merkel Calls For Burqa Ban In Germany
The German Chancellor
Addressing her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Ms Merkel said she would support a nationwide prohibition on Islamic veils covering the face.
“The full-face veil must be banned, wherever it is legally possible,” she told delegates in Essen, sparking enthusiastic applause.
Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister and one of Ms Merkel’s closest allies, proposed came out in favour of a partial burqa ban in August.
He said the law would apply in “places where it is necessary for our society’s coexistence” including government offices, schools and universities, courtrooms as well as demonstrations.
Dutch MPs voted for a similar prohibition in the Netherlands last month, covering public transport, education, healthcare and government buildings and punishing any infractions with fines.
Support for bans on full-face veils has been growing across Europe since France became the first country to implement such a law in 2011, followed by France, Belgium, Bulgaria and parts of Switzerland.
Ms Merkel is running unopposed for a new term leading the CDU, who first elected her chairwoman in 2000, to launch her bid for a fourth term as German Chancellor.
Two years ago, she won the support of 96.7 per cent of party delegates, one of her best results.
But popularity has been severely dented by growing anti-migrant sentiment in Germany following the arrival of around 1 million asylum seekers in the continuing refugee crisis.
Ms Merkel has been widely criticised for her decision to open the borders in September 2015, with opponents blaming the policy for mass sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and two terror attacks by Isis supporters.
She has repeatedly refused to reverse the policy amid a string of regional election defeats for her CDU party but struck a new tone on Tuesday.