German city moves to outlaw full-face veil in schools after ruling
Education authorities in the German city-state of Hamburg said on Monday that they would move urgently to change the law after a court ruled in favour of a Muslim pupil who wore a full-face veil to school.
"It is proper at school for teachers and pupils to have an open, unobstructed face. Only in this way can a school and teaching operate," said Ties Rabe, the senator responsible for the city's schools. "And for that reason, we will soon change the schools legislation, so that this is assured in the future," said Rabe, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD), the largest party in the ruling coalition.
He received support from the Greens, the junior partner in Hamburg's government. "The burka and the niqab are for me symbols of oppression," said Katharina Fegebank, the city's deputy mayor.
Burka, hijab or niqab? What is she wearing?
Hijab: most Islamic scholars agree that the hijab, which covers the head and neck, and comes in any number of shapes and colors, must be worn by Muslim women. American teen Hannah Schraim is seen wearing one here while playing with her brother
Chador: the chador, which is usually black, is a body-length outer garmet often worn in Iran and among modern-minded women in the Gulf States, as here in Saudi Arabia. It is not fastened with clasps or buttons and therefore has to be held closed by the wearer
Niqab: a niqab is a veil and scarf that covers the entire face yet leaves the eyes free. It covers a woman's hair, as it falls to the middle of her back and some are also half-length in the front so as to cover her chest. Here it is being worn by women attending a rally by Salafist radicals in Germany
Abaya: an abaya is a loose-fitting, full-length garment designed to cover the body. It may come in many different styles – as seen here at an Arab fashion show – and is often worn in combination with hijab or niqab
Burka: the burka is the most extensive of all Muslim garments, covering the entire body from head to toe. It traditionally has a woven mesh area around the eyes to allow women to see. In this case enabling them to cast their ballots in Pakistani parliamentary elections
No veil: Queen Rania of Jordan says that Islam does not coerce women to wear any head coverings, and that it is more important to judge a woman by her ethics and values, rather than what she wears. She is seen here meeting with refugees in Greece. Author: Jon Shelton
The opposition parties in the city-state's parliament also called for a ban on full-face veils during lessons.
Earlier Monday, a Hamburg court ruled against the education authorities by lifting a ban on full-face veils. It found that there was no legal basis for an order by the education authorities to the 16-year-old pupil's mother to ensure that her daughter showed up to lessons with her face uncovered.
The court added that a legal basis was required for any interference into the pupil's full rights to be free to exercise her faith.
According to media reports, the pupil, the daughter of an Egyptian man and a German convert to Islam, has attended a vocational school in the city since August last year. (dpa)