Merkel Calls for Burqa Ban in Germany

Merkel Calls for Burqa Ban in Germany


Burqa Ban in Germany

In Germany, the issue of religious expression in the workplace has become a complex matter, with workers protected by German constitutional law from discrimination. However, the definition of religious discrimination in the workplace remains ambiguous. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) upheld July 2017, allowing employers to adopt neutrality policies, banning religious garb in the workplace, but with conditions attached. Employers were required to prove that such policies were essential for business. The case was brought forward by two female German workers, a daycare centre teacher, and a cashier whose employers asked them not to wear the Muslim headscarf at work.

The Hamburg court recently ruled in favour of a student’s mother, stating that her 16-year-old daughter can wear the niqab in class. The school authority had attempted to ban her from wearing the garment during lessons. The judges invoked the girl’s “right to unconditional protection of her freedom of religion.” However, education laws at the state level in Germany have been introduced to combat such issues. For example, Lower Saxony’s education laws have outlawed full-face veils since 2017. Similarly, students in Bavaria must “not cover their faces, except when this is required by school rule.” Hamburg’s government has announced an imminent ban on full-face veils in schools.

Symbols of Oppression?

The ban has sparked a heated debate, with feminists on the same side as political right-wingers. Germany’s Green Party is mainly divided on the issue, with Hamburg’s deputy mayor, Katharina Fegebank, stating that “the burqa and the niqab are, for me, symbols of oppression.” However, other German states, such as Baden-Württemberg, are following suit and introducing similar bans. The issue of religious expression and its place in the workplace and education system remains a contentious topic in Germany, with individuals and politicians divided on the matter.

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