Germany/Italy: Politicians mull burqa ban following French report (UPDATED)

Germany/Italy: Politicians mull burqa ban following French report

Update 2:

In continuing parliamentary and mass media debates here between Swedish moderate conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Mona Sahlin of the Social Democratic party, the question of France's controversial suggestion of a ban on Moslem women wearing burkas in public has come up.

Sahlin told a radio public that she did not favour adding more discrimination on top of other oppression faced by immigrant women. The prime minister indicated that while he did not favor any legal ban on this clothing totally covering a woman's body, he did not want to see more women in burkas in Sweden. (EN)


The Danish government announced that burqas and niqabs don't belong in Danish society: in schools, work-places or public institutions. There is no specific ban planned, though, as the current laws are deemed sufficient to limit their use. (DA)


In a related story, a Swiss court ruled (EN) that a headscarf ban on basketball players does not breach their rights.


As their neighbours in France edged closer to a ban on burkas, German politicians on Thursday debated whether such a measure was necessary in their own country.

After a French parliamentary commission ruled this week that the enveloping garment worn by some Islamic women is unacceptable and recommended a ban in schools and public offices, former Social Democratic parliamentarian, Turkish-German Lale Akgün made as case for a similar ban in Germany.

"The burka is a full-body prison that deeply threatens human rights,"she told daily Frankfurter Rundschau. "It would be an important signal for Germany to ban the burka."

A burka ban in German should include schools, universities, and high-security zones such as banks and airports, she said.

But fellow party member and speaker for interior issues Dieter Wiefelspütz rejected the suggestion.

"We have a different understanding of freedom than the French," he told the paper, adding that an enlightened Islam could not be forced.



THE Italian government appeared divided Wednesday over a French initiative to ban the face-covering Islamic veil in many public places.

Equal Opportunity Minister Mara Carfagna said she was in 'absolute agreement with the French initiative, which will encourage other European countries, including Italy, to legislate on this issue.'

But Foreign Minister Franco Frattini opposed a 'pure and simple' legal ban as a 'matter of principle,' adding that the issue should be addressed in broader terms as part of efforts to integrate immigrants. He urged 'paying attention to respect for religious feelings on the one hand and addressing security requirements on the other.' 'We can find a compromise,' Frattini added.


Sources: The Local, Straits Times (English)

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