A Proposal to Ban the Veil in Germany

The interior minister said the facial covering favored by some Muslim women “doesn't fit in with our open society.”

Thomas Peter / Reuters

NEWS BRIEF  German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday the face veil, or burqa, worn by some Muslim women “doesn’t fit in with our open society” and called for the garment to be banned. It’s unclear if such a ban would permitted under Germany’s constitution, however, and de Maiziere suggested as much in remarks a day earlier.

“We reject the full veil—not just the burka but the other forms of full veil where only the eyes are visible,” he said Friday, in remarks reported by the BBC. “It doesn’t fit in with our open society. Showing the face is a constituent element for our communication, the way we live, our social cohesion. That is why we call on everyone to show their face.”

Germany already has bans in place for face coverings at demonstrations, such as protests, that conceal someone’s identity. But the proposal offered by conservative members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling bloc would prevent anyone from wearing partial face coverings in public educational institutions, public offices or while driving.

Calls for a ban on veils follow recent attacks in Europe, including in Germany , that have been claimed by the Islamic State.