Muslim teen banned from wearing face veil in school

The Local Germany
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Muslim teen banned from wearing face veil in school
A niqab. photo: DPA

An 18-year-old student at a night school in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, has been told by a court that she cannot attend her classes while wearing a niqab.


The teenager had taken her school to court after they told her she would not be able to attend classes so long as she continued to wear the conservative Islamic clothing, which leaves the whole body covered except for a slit for the eyes.

The young woman failed to turn up for the court appointment due to the huge media attention it had gained, leading the judge to uphold the school’s decision, the Neue Osnabrücke Zeitung reports.

She now has the possibility to appeal the decision.

The case, the first of its kind in Lower Saxony, consists of a clash of two constitutional principles: religious freedom, and the state’s right to determine educational rules, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

The teen has said that she was prepared to reveal her face to a female member of staff before the start of class so that she could be identified, but refused to keep her veil off during the lessons.

The Lower Saxony education authority rejected this proposal, arguing that their role as educator requires completely free communication, which not only involves speaking, but also facial expressions and gestures.

Whether to ban face veils in certain public spaces is currently being hotly debated in German political circles.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) last week said he was in favour of banning the burqa in schools and universities, as well as in the civil service and in court.

Merkel, meanwhile, said she thought wearing a burqa made it "almost impossible" to integrate into German society.

The CDU’s centre-left coalition partner the Social Democrats (SPD) criticized the proposal as a means of “stoking fear about Muslims and distracting from the real issues.”



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