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.

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)

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