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Burqa ban

August 20, 2010

Liberal German-Turkish politician Serkan Toeren has called for a ban on the full-body veil worn by Muslim women. Toeren wants to follow in the model set by France and Belgium, which banned the burqa earlier this year.

Two women on a street in Paris, one wearing the burqa, one not.
France and Belgium already banned the burqa earlier this yearImage: AP

The liberal parliamentarian Serkan Toeren has demanded a ban on the burqa in Germany. Toeren, who represents the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the Bundestag, says it was time to have an open debate on the issue.

Toeren, whose constituency is in Lower Saxony, said the full body covering worn by some Muslim women, obscuring the face, posed a threat to public security, and undermined the individuals.

Portrait shot of Serkan Toeren.
Serkan Toeren is a liberal politician of Turkish originImage: FDP

"Wearing a full-body veil like the burqa is a breach of human dignity." Toeren told the German daily Leipziger Volkszeitung.

"Women who choose to wear the burqa voluntarily cannot be accepted either, because individuals cannot control human dignity."

A "mobile women's prison"

According to Toeren, the burqa robs women of their dignity and freedom:

"It is supposed to make women more or less invisible, and not present. The burqa is a mobile women's prison."

The FDP spokesman for integration, who is of Turkish origin, does not accept religious reasons as justification for wearing the full-body veil.

"The burqa is not a religious, but rather a political symbol against our state order and a means of suppressing women," said Toeren.

Following a trend in Europe

A ban on the full-body veil is under discussion in a number of European countries. In July the National Assembly in France voted for a ban on the burqa. Belgium banned women from wearing the full-body veil in public earlier this year.

Spain and the United Kingdom are currently discussing whether to introduce a ban.

However, a number of German politicians from various parties are against such a ban. They point to the civil rights of the individual, and say there are very few women who wear the traditional form of Islamic dress in Germany.

Author: Joanna Impey (dpa, kna)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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