German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere speaks to the media at police headquarters in Bremen, Germany, August 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
A German minister will shortly propose a ban on wearing full face veils by women in public in Germany as part of a range of new measures purportedly taken amid concerns over recent terror attacks in the European country.
German media said the ban will be proposed by the country’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Thursday.
It will be proposed along other measures that include boosting the number of police forces in the country, introducing video surveillance at transport hubs, and restrictions on obtaining dual nationality in Germany.
De Maiziere is to present the details of the initiatives as a bill with the aim of turning it into law before the country’s national elections in 2017.
On Wednesday, Maiziere warned of a significant threat of terrorist attacks faced by his country, saying, “Both the federal and state police are under strain.”
The ban on veils has already been proposed by other politicians in Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) party, which is led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“A ban on the full veil, i.e. the niqab and the burqa, is overdue and would be a signal to the world,” said Jens Spahn, the CDU politician, adding that, “I don’t want to encounter a burqa in this country. In that sense, I am burqaphobic.”
CDU is under increasing pressure as its previous policy of embracing refugees and asylum seekers from conflict zones has been blamed for a string of sexual assaults against more than 1,000 women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve.
The German government has recently dropped its so-called open-door policy toward refugees.
Police stand at the scene of an explosion in the southern German city of Ansbach, June 25, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Germany has been on high alert since July, when a spate of attacks killed 15 people, including four attackers, and left dozens injured.
On July 24, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee killed himself and injured 15 people outside a café in the city of Ansbach in Bavaria in southern Germany. The Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the Syrian man was a recruit.
On July 18, a teenage refugee, who was registered as an Afghan asylum seeker but was believed to be a Pakistani national, injured four people using an ax and a knife on a train in Bavaria. Daesh also claimed responsibility for that attack.
In the same month, a teenager opened fire at people shopping at a mall in the city of Munich in southern Germany, killing nine and injuring more than 35 others. Officials ruled out that the case was a terrorism issue, however.
The ban on the full face hijab to be introduced by de Maiziere, the German interior minister, may exacerbate Islamophobic tendencies in Germany, where far-right extremist groups are already campaigning, sometimes violently, against Muslims and refugees.