Merkel: burqa makes integration almost impossible

“From my point of view, a completely covered woman has almost no chance of integrating herself in Germany,” Merkel told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

But she was much more hesitant about suggesting she would like to see a ban on burqas, a garment worn by some Muslim woman in which her whole body is covered, including her eyes.

“This is a question of finding the right political and legal balance – and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has my full support in finding a solution,” Merkel said.

De Maizière recently rejected a general ban on the burqa, citing constitutional concerns.

“In our society people should show their faces. At the same time I’m not for a general ban on the veil, since it would  probably be annulled by the constitutional court,” he told broadcaster RBB.

But he added that in schools, government buildings and in courts, people should show their faces.

State interior ministers from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) called for a ban on the burqa as part of a package of proposed security measures in the wake of several bloody incidents in July, two of which seemingly had Islamist motives behind them.

Lorenz Caffier, interior minister in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, said: “I have seen wide support for a ban in large parts of our society and among my colleagues.”

Critics have said that banning the burqa has nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

Arguments over Islamic clothing have been raging in recent weeks in Europe as six French mayors have banned the burqini, a swimming costume that covers most of the body, in their towns.

In southern Germany in June a swimming pool also banned the burqini, citing hygiene reasons.

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