Hesse: Considering ban on burka in schools

A conservative German state governor is considering a ban on students wearing the all-encompassing Muslim burqa in schools, according to an interview published on Sunday ahead of regional elections next month.

The state of Hesse -- which includes Germany's financial center, Frankfurt -- already has the country's widest-reaching legislation preventing public school teachers and civil servants from wearing head scarves at work.

Governor Roland Koch, a prominent member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, was quoted as telling the weekly Focus that his government "specifically encourages the integration of the Muslim population in our society."

"Many Muslims feel that they are put under pressure from within their own ranks -- that is not acceptable," he said, according to the report. "That is why we are also thinking about a burqa ban in schools."

"A fully veiled girl cannot participate equally in classes -- she is massively obstructed in the development of her personality," Koch was quoted as saying. "Every student must be able to show her face openly."

Koch added that he has no intention of preventing female students from wearing head scarves at school.

Koch has governed Hesse since 1999, when he ousted a center-left regional administration following a campaign in which his party hit out at a federal government proposal to liberalise German citizenship laws.

Source: India Times (English)

See also: Hesse: Court upholds headscarf ban

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