Partial ban on Islamic burqa gaining more steam

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Following the example of other countries, including France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, German officials on Thursday approved a new law which would make it illegal for public servants — including elected officials, judges, and soldiers — to wear the full-face Islamic burqa while performing their duties.

“The state has a duty to present itself in an ideologically and religiously neutral manner,” according to the law, which must now pass the lower house before being implemented.

“Integration also means that we should make clear, and impart our values, and where the boundaries lie of our tolerance toward other cultures,” said German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. “The draft law we have agreed on makes an important contribution to that.”

“The full-face veil is not acceptable in our country,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel at a party conference in December, adding that the practice “should be banned wherever it is legally possible.”

German lawmakers also want to put ankle tags on people who have been deemed a security threat, including Islamic radicals. And another law, merging federal and state police records into a common database, is under consideration.

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