Hessen er den første tyske delstat som innfører forbud mot burka og niqab for offentlig ansatte. Utløsende var en kvinnelig lærer som kom tilbake fra mammapermisjon i burka.
Hesse Interior Minister Boris Rheinsaid it was ‘not acceptable’ for a teacher in Frankfurt to wear a face veil because ‘public sector workers are obligated to have neutral religious and political views’.
The decision was prompted by a local teacher who had told her school she wanted to wear a burka in the classroom after returning from maternity leave. She had not previously worn one.
Hesse: Tension have grown in the region which is run by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union party
Debates about outlawing burkas have spread across Europe after France banned the Muslim face veils.
Only a small minority of Muslim women in Europe cover their faces, but their veils have become symbols for Europeans troubled by problems such as the economic crisis, immigration and Muslim integration.
A poll last year showed 61 percent of Germans favoured a burka ban. Ban supporters include a Catholic bishop in Bavaria, and also the country’s most prominent feminist, Alice Schwarzer.
But Germany’s interior and justice ministers have opposed a ban.
Critics of a ban suggest that Western democratic values should allow Muslims to wear veils.
It is feared that such a move could cause a backlash among Germany’s 4.1 million Muslims.
Germany has the highest number of Muslims in Europe ahead of France which has around 3.5million and Britain with 2.8million, according to the The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.