Head scarf affair in Germany

Oct. 31, 2006 at 12:43 PM
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BERLIN, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The German government has sided with a Turkish-born opposition lawmaker who received death threats after she called on Muslim women to drop the head scarf.

Green Party lawmaker Ekin Deligoz is under 24/7 protection from Germany's federal police following her comments that the head scarf is a symbol of oppression, drawing harsh criticism in fundamental Islamic media in Turkey.

Newspapers in Turkey compared her to the Nazis and former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a prominent Muslim critic. The 35-year-old has also received a death threat.

"I appeal to Muslim women: Arrive in the presence, arrive in Germany -- you live here, so take off the head scarf," Deligoz had told Germany's Bild newspaper. "Show that you have the same civil and human rights as men."

Ronald Pofalla, the general secretary of Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union, called on Muslim organizations in Germany to "clearly distance themselves" from the threats. "Those who live here must accept our values," he said.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, also a conservative, said Deligoz had the right to speak her mind and if she received threats, then "something is wrong."

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