Angela Merkel called for a ban on burqas Tuesday, in a speech that heralded her run for a fourth term as Chancellor of Germany.
During a gathering of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Merkel said that the full-face veil, which is worn by some Muslim women, “should be banned, wherever legally possible,” The Telegraph reports. Merkel also remarked that “German law takes precedence over sharia.” Her speech was met with applause from lawmakers.
The proposed legislation has been deemed a “burqa ban lite.” It does not suggest banning the garment completely, but instead applies to “public life,” meaning that women will not be able to wear the burqa at schools and universities, while driving, or while working as civil servants.
Thomas de Maiziere of Merkel’s CDU party first proposed the legislation in August. “We all reject the full veil — not only the burka but also other types of full veil that only leave the eyes visible,” he said. “They have no place in our society.” Merkel lent her support to de Maiziere, telling the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland newspaper that “a fully veiled woman in Germany has barely any chance of integrating.”
Merkel, who has served as chancellor for eleven years, is expected to be re-elected as CDU’s party chief. But she has been subjected to intense criticism recently for her handling of the refugee crisis. Around 890,000 migrants arrived in Germany last year, after Merkel decided open the country’s doors to asylum-seekers who were stranded in Hungary. Worries about the country’s ability to cope with the influx of refugees reached a fever pitch last summer, when four terror attacks — three of them carried out by asylum seekers — were perpetrated on German soil.
On Tuesday, Merkel said that the crisis “should not and must not be repeated.”
If Germany does move forward with the proposed ban, it will become one of several European countries to impose restrictions on the burqa. The Netherlands, parts of Catalonia, and the Italian town of Novara have all instituted partial burqa bans. Belgium and France have outlawed the garment entirely.
Read more at The Telegraph.