A partial ban on Burqas has been proposed throughout Germany, following the ban on Islamic swimwear imposed in a number of French coastal resorts.
If passed by the German parliament, Burqas could be banned in schools, universities and while driving. Women working as public officials, attending demonstrations and in court will also be prohibited from wearing Buqas or concealing their faces.
According to Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, Burqas and Niqabs cannot co-exist with the values of an open society: “To show one’s face is crucial for communicating, for living together in our society and keeping it together,” de Maizière told reporters of the Washington Post. “In the areas where it serves a function to show one’s face, we want to make it a rule . . . and this means whoever breaks it must feel the consequences.”
Burkinis, the full body Islamic swimwear, have already been banned over the summer in coastal towns in France. Speaking about the ban, Manuel Valls, the socialist prime-minister told La Provence the Burkini represented a worldview based on the “enslavement of women.”
In Tunisia, the General Secretary of the Union of Imams, Fadhel Achour questioned the religious basis for covering the face. According to Achour both burqas and niqabs were “very contentious. The Quran doesn’t oblige a woman to wear burqas or niqabs. It states that she has to cover only her body, starting from the neck to the legs and that the face mustn’t be veiled.”
According to Achour: “Wearing burqas goes back to ancient times, where it used to be a way of differentiating between an emancipated woman, who wore it to prevent men from seeing her body and the slave woman, who shouldn’t be covered. It is a matter of tribalism and has nothing to do with religion.”
Among the countries imposing or proposing partial and full bans on burqas and niqabs are: France, Belgium, the Neverthalnds, Switzerland, Italy, Egypt and Chad.