10 April 2018

Girls' headscarf ban debate ties Merkel's conservatives in knots

A debate over whether to ban Muslim girls under 14 from wearing headscarves in public, prompted by a similar proposal in Austria, has divided Germany’s governing conservatives.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, already struggling to paper over cracks in her month-old coalition cabinet, is unlikely to welcome a call for action from members of her own camp that exposes the country’s uneasy attempts to integrate its 4 million Muslims.

That process has taken on added complexity following the influx of over one million mostly Middle Eastern and North African migrants in 2015 and 2016, and sharp election gains for the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Germany’s parliament already passed a law last year preventing civil servants, judges and soldiers from wearing full-face veils at work. [Reuters] Read more