15 September 2016

Should the Muslim veil be verboten? Germany debates

A proposal to ban face coverings in places such as schools or behind the wheel is broadly popular among Germans. But Muslims worry it would have little benefit, and would only widen divisions in German society.

In the debate that is roiling Europe over head coverings for Muslim women, Jens Spahn, a deputy finance minister in Germany’s ruling conservative party, is not afraid to stake a position. He calls himself a “burqa-phobe.”

“I don’t think the burqa belongs to liberal, open societies,” he says. “If I go to another country, I adapt to those behaviors and customs. So we can expect the same the other way around.”

After a heated summer – where mayors in France banned "burkinis" from their shores in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice, and Germany was struck for the first time by the kind of Islamic-inspired terror its neighbors have been facing – the debate over whether to ban Muslim women's attire has reached a fever pitch. [The Christian Science Monitor] Read more