Wiebke Muhsal, the deputy parliamentary chairwoman of the Thuringian state parliament, entered the parliamentary chamber wearing the niqab during a debate on daycare and did not remove it until forced to by President of the Parliament Christian Carius (Christian-Democratic Union).
A niqab is a face veil worn with a full length garment leaving only the eyes exposed, worn by certain Islamic sects who believe in a hardline interpretation of Islam’s call for female modesty.
“The niqab and the burka make women faceless,” Ms. Muhsal, who represents the right-wing Alternative Fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) party, told Breitbart London. “The intention of wearing the niqab today was to represent this terrible situation for women. A ban on such full-face veils is the right way to stop this development and to protect our liberal order.”
The garment has sparked controversy across Europe, where several parties — including Alternative Fur Deutschland — are calling for it to be banned in public places and brand it a security risk.
The mayor of Bonn in Germany was recently forced to apologize after she shared a picture of a cucumber with a slit cut into it to look like a burqa.
“I respect every religion,” Simone Stein-Luecke (Christian-Democratic Union) said. "But I have always stressed that I am opposed to a full-face veil. It was a humorous post, no more, no less.”
British people also support banning the burqa, which is a one piece that also veils the eyes, by two to one. A recent poll by YouGov indicated that 57% support such a a ban while 25% oppose it, according to The Telegraph. Meanwhile 67% of French voters support banning the burkini, a swimsuit that covers the woman from her head to her ankles (leaving the face exposed), according to an Ifop poll.
France banned the wearing of face veils in public in 2011. In addition, forcing another person to wear a face veil can carry a fine of up to € 30,000 and a year in prison.
Belgium followed France’s lead and banned face veils, with offenders facing a fine and up to seven days in jail.
Holland bans the face veil in government buildings and “specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen,” such as for security reasons.
A ban on face veils in Switzerland came into force in 2016.
Other countries are progressing towards a ban.
In June 2016, a bill to ban face veils passed a first reading in the Bulgarian parliament by 108 votes to eight with no abstentions. In July 2016, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled it is legal and non-discriminatory for an employer to fire a woman for wearing a face veil, since the veil may impede communication.
The Alternative fuer Deutschland Party looks set to make big gains and possibly overtake the ruling Christian Democratic Union party in state elections in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s home state of Mecklenberg-Vormpommern, which take place today.