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Germany moves to ban burqas

By Amy R. Connolly
Germany moves to ban burqas
German leaders are calling for a ban of face veils worn by some Muslim women, saying burqas hinder integration. Pictured: A woman wears a burqa in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in defiance of a new French law banning the garment in Paris on April 11, 2011. The controversial new law takes effect today and officially bans all garments which cover the face. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

BERLIN, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- German leaders are mulling a ban on face veils worn by some Muslim women, saying burqas hinder integration and are incompatible with German culture.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere proposed the ban, saying the conservative Islamic clothing "does not belong in our cosmopolitan country."

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"We agree that we reject the burqa, we agree that we want to introduce a legal requirement to show one's face in places where it is necessary for our society's coexistence -- at the wheel, at public offices, at the registry office, in schools and universities, in the civil service, in court," he said after a meeting with regional party counterparts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported De Maiziere's proposal, saying burqas are "contrary to integration."

RELATED Third mayor in France bans burqinis after beach brawl

"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," she said

The move comes in response to public outcry over the arrival of some 1 million refugees, many Muslim, in nearly two years and recent Islamic-extremist-tied terror attacks. The move still has to be approved by party leaders.

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In early August, lawmakers banned the burqini, full-body swimwear worn by some Muslim women, from the beaches in Cannes, France. Officials said the move was in response to the July 14 extremist truck attack in Nice that left some 80 dead. Two other seaside towns in France followed suit.

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