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German Interior Minister Backs Partial Burqa Ban

Germany's top law enforcement official has called for a partial ban on the burqa, the full-face covering that many devout Muslim women wear in public.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a Christian Democrat, said on German television on August 19 that conservatives "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 – when driving, in public offices, at the registry office, in schools and universities, in the civil service, in courts."

The burqa, he added "has no place in our country and it doesn’t comply with our understanding of the role of women."

Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists that women wearing the burqa had "hardly any chance of integrating," but she concluded that the matter was "a complex political and legal issue."

Germany is home to some 4 million Muslims. Although there are no statistics on how many Muslim women there wear the burqa, the head of the Central Council of Muslims has said that very few do.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP