The German state bans burqas and faces veils in schools, saying that they are not included in a free society
- Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany announced the ban on Tuesday
- This will apply to girls in primary and secondary education in all states
- The Prime Minister of State said full face covering was not included in a free society
A German state has banned the use of burqas in schools, saying that the full face covering of Islam is not included in a free society.
Baden-Württemberg in the southwest German announced the ban on Tuesday. The state has banned the use of such covers for teachers.
State Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann said that it is very rare for school girls to wear a burqa but a ban is needed for exceptional cases.
The new rules will apply to girls who attend primary and secondary school in the state.
Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany announced the ban on Tuesday (File image)
Kretschmann added that such a cover, which is usually worn by conservative Muslim women and girls, is not included in a free society, although he acknowledged that their prohibition at the university level was a more complex problem.
Members of Germany’s ruling CDU party have long called for a ban on face-covering in schools.
The country’s leftist Green Party has been divided on this issue, but in Baden-Württemberg, green party leaders agreed with CDU, with state party leaders Sandra Detzer and Oliver Hildenbrand referring to the burqa and niqab as “symbols of oppression.”
Other party members argue that the ban could trigger tension and have a negative impact on cultural integration.
It came after a ruling earlier this year that saw a court in Hamburg overturn its own ruling on a full face covering.
In February, a German court overturned the school niqab ban after a 16-year-old girl was told she had to show her face to the teachers.
Hamburg’s education official has ordered the girl’s mother to ensure that her daughter does not wear a veil at school, a decision rejected by the administrative court.
Current state law does not allow authorities to impose such restrictions, the court said in a statement.
The teenager, who studies retail sales, has ‘the right to unconditional protection of his freedom of belief’, the statement added.
Hamburg’s social-democratic education senator Ties Rabe immediately said that he would try to change the country’s laws.
Each German state has its own ministry of education, and 16 states have different laws on headscarves in schools.
In 2015, the German Constitutional Court overturned a total ban on teachers who wore it, arguing that it was against religious freedom. However, eight German states maintain a ban on wearing headscarves by female teachers.
Neighboring countries of Germany including the Netherlands, France, Austria and Denmark have introduced so-called ‘burqa bans’ to varying degrees.
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