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Burqa ban is wrong

Martin Muno
Martin Muno
August 19, 2016

Germany does not need to ban the Islamic facial veil. That's because it is only a symptom of the real issue of self-determination, writes Martin Muno.

Deutschland Offenbach Vollverschleierte Frauen Niqab
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Roessler

Summer 2016: Aleppo reveals itself to be hell on earth, refugees are still drowning in the Mediterranean, the policies behind low interest rates are emptying out Germans' retirement savings. And what is Germany discussing? A piece of cloth!

This country does not need a burqa ban. Even the word is wrong. The burqa - the robe that covers the entire face with a cloth grid - has yet to appear in Germany. There are some women who wear a niqab, which is a garment which conceals the whole body and leaves only a small slit free for the eyes. But their number is negligible.

Muno Martin Kommentarbild App
DW's Martin Muno

To avoid any misunderstanding: Burqa, niqab and chador are the expressions of a repressive, reactionary conception of women that grants the man total control over the female body.

But they are just a symptom. This forced veiling is only one side of the coin: Ostentatious public displays of the sexualized female body - such as in advertising - are the other.

We must therefore passionately fight for a society in which this right of control gives way to female self-determination. In more concrete terms: Every woman should decide for herself what she wears!

Helpless populism

The plans announced by German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere are at best an expression of helplessness: There should not be a general burqa ban, but at least a partial one. They call for facial concealment to be prohibited behind the wheel of a car or in public service. But if you please: What veiled woman is allowed to drive by herself, or allowed to pursue a career? Again, symptom and cause are confused - and as regional elections loom, with a populist view to supporters of the AfD and Pegida.

Because we really do have a problem: If we can no longer make our western, free society more attractive than an authoritarian system, if we have already gone so far that we have to regulate the wearing of certain garments by law, then we have lost the struggle of opinion. The great promise of the pursuit of individual happiness, regardless of origin, sex, skin color or sexual orientation, is central to our society. It should inspire, not exclude.

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Martin Muno
Martin Muno Digital immigrant, interested in questions of populism and political power
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