Angela Merkel calls for burqa ban in bid for reelection

In an address on Tuesday at the Christian Democrats party conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a burqa ban in her bid to be reelected the country's chancellor in a fourth term.

"The full-face veil is not acceptable in our country," Merkel told the crowd, according to the Independent. "It should be banned, wherever it is legally possible."

Merkel's pitch for a ban on the Islamic religious garb echoes those of the Christian Democrat party more broadly, members of which have called for similar restrictions in the past. In August, Peter Tauber, the party's general secretary, said the the full-face veil was "contrary to integration," the Independentreported. At the time, German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said such a ban would be "constitutionally problematic," and a possible violation of Germany's laws on religious freedom.

Germany's Basic Law maintains the "the undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed," with no specific mention of religious dress.

However, Merkel's latest call for a burqa ban runs alongside her focus on the refugee crisis and amid Germany's fluctuating attitudes toward accepting refugees into the country.

"A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be repeated," Merkel said on Tuesday. "That was and is our, and my, declared political aim."

37 PHOTOS
German Chancellor Angela Merkel through the years
See Gallery
German Chancellor Angela Merkel through the years

German Environment Minister Angela Merkel smiles prior to a environmental ministers conference at Albrechtsburg castle in Dresden, March 23. Ministers from 21 countries will attend the annual conference to discuss environmental issues. 

(Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

Christian Democratic German Defence Minister Volker Ruehe (R) and Environment Minister Angela Merkel smile prior a cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Bonn, August 11. The cabinet is expected to discuss Merkels report about the security of nuclear power plants in Germany. 

(Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

Angela MERKEL , CDU , Minister for the Environment , during a cabinet meeting in April 1994

(Photo by Unkel/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels March 15, 2013. European leaders met in Brussels for a second day of summit talks on Friday, to discuss relations with Russia and the situation in Syria, as well as economic policies.

(REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for photographs after the recording of her annual New Year's speech at the Chancellery in Berlin December 30, 2013.

(REUTERS/David Gannon/Pool)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a reception with carols singers (Sternsinger) at the Chancellery in Berlin, January 7, 2014. Merkel has fractured her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident in Switzerland over the Christmas holidays and is walking with the help of crutches, forcing her to call off some foreign visits and official appointments her spokesman said on Monday.

9REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 18, 2015.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez shake hands after a joint press conference following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin on October 27, 2015. The two leaders are meeting for conversations about the bilateral relations, developmental cooperation and the situation in the region.

(Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears Google Glass eyewear as she visits a booth of Nokia where students developed an interactive communication software to repair mobile communications equipment abroad during a Girls Day career event at the Chancellery in Berlin April 27, 2016. Girls Day seeks to attract female pupils to careers in IT, technological and natural science sectors of the German industry.

(REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

Merkel, Angela - Politician, CDU, Germany, Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany - ironing wrapping paper - 1994

(Photo by Ebner/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, is seen arriving at a G-8 meeting in St-Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, July 16, 2006. Italy and the U.K. sent warships to the Eastern Mediterranean as a fifth day of fighting in the region prompted most of the Group of Eight countries to make plans for evacuating their citizens from Lebanon and Israel.

(Photo by Dmitry Beliakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 Angela MERKEL (CDU), federal chancellor.

(Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during an official welcoming ceremony at the Chancellery in Berlin 05 June 2007. Abe was in Berlin for bilateral takes with his German counterpart prior to the start of the G8 summit the following day.

 (CLEMENS BILAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Hohen-Luckow, GERMANY: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President George W. Bush pose with children of residents upon his arrival at Hohen Luckow Estate, northeastern Germany, 06 June 2007 prior their dinner on the first day of the summit of the Group of Eight most industrialized nations at the Baltic Coast hotel in the northern resort of Heiligendamm.

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she delivers a speech at a Christian Democratic Union meeting in Frankfurt 04 September 2007, outlining the party's basic principles.

(THOMAS LOHNES/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) talks to geishas during her visit in Kyoto, 31 August 2007. Merkel is on a three-day official visit to Japan.

 (PEER GRIMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President George W. Bush (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) shake hands after a joint press conference at the guesthouse of the Federal Republic, the Meseberg Palace, in Meseberg north of Berlin, Germany on June 11, 2008. President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met for talks which were dominated by the Iranian nuclear programme, climate protection and transatlantic trade. Germany is the second stop on a farewell tour of Europe before Bush leaves office in January 2009.  

(MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly German government cabinet meeting on August 13, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. High on the morning's agenda was the extension of the German military mission in Sudan. The German Bundeswehr has approximately 40 soldiers in Sudan as part of the Untied Nations UNMIS peacekeeping force.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Ronald Pofalla (R), General Secretary of the CDU smile during their election campaign rally at the central station Koblenz during their journey in the historic 'Rheingold' train on September 15, 2009 in Koblenz, Germany. German Chancellor Merkel tours during her election campaign rally through six German cities in the historic train. The 17th German federal election is scheduled for September 27, 2009 and will be held to elect the members of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany.

(Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrives for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Meseberg Palace, the government's official residence, in the eastern German town of Meseberg on June 4, 2010. Medvedev is in Germany for two days of what the German government called 'informal' discussions set to be dominated by Iran's nuclear program and the Middle East.

(JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a speech during the ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the German Federal Police (BKA) in Wiesbaden, August 18, 2011.

(REUTERS/Alex Domanski)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she takes questions from the audience on foreign policy as the Koerber foundation marked the 50th anniversary of the Bergedorfer forum, a German think-tank in Berlin September 9, 2011.

(JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande (L) greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on November 25, 2015.

(Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo pay their respects to the victims of the November 13 Paris attacks on November 25, 2015, on the Place de la Republic in Paris, where they each left a white rose. Hollande, just off the plane from Washington, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seeking support for his faltering effort to forge a coalition to fight Islamic State jihadists. Hollande is expected to look to Merkel to try to ease tensions between Russia and Turkey -- two potential components of the anti-IS alliance -- which fell out over the downing of a Russian warplane at the Turkish-Syrian border. Hollande is on a whirlwind diplomatic tour spurred by the November 13 attacks on Paris that left 130 dead and 350 injured.

(ETIENNE LAURENT/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a press conference after their bilateral talks at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, on April 24, 2016. Obama is in Germany on the last leg of his tour of Europe and the Gulf, planning to underscore close ties with Chancellor Angela Merkel and make the case for a controversial transatlantic free trade agreement

(TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, reacts during a news conference at the CDU headquarters in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, March 14, 2016. Merkel plans to stay the course and pursue her migration policy much as before even as she acknowledged that the refugee crisis hurt her party in three state elections.

(Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) receives a honorary doctorate degree from Nanjing University's president Chen Jun at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, June 12, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) talks with Jerome Boateng (R) during the annual open-house day at the Chancellery on August 28, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Merkel has seen her popularity ratings decline as Germany grapples with the integration of up to one million refugees and migrants who arrived in Germany thanks to Merkel's liberal policy. Many Germans feel unsettled by so many newcomers and only a small portion of those granted asylum have found jobs. Germany faces federal elections next year.

(Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during her summer interview with journalists of German public tv chain ARD on August 28, 2016 in Berlin.

(RAINER JENSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor and leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party CDU Angela Merkel reacts after her speech at the CDU party convention in Essen, Germany, December 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Fank-Walter Steinmeier walk towards the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016, one day after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital.

(REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks at Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj as they and other heads of delegations watch traditional nomadic Naadam festival performance during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit just outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sarah Philips during a reception of German carnival societies at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 23, 2017.

(REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

Pupils make selfies as German Chancellor Angela Merkel signs autographs as she visits the French secondary school Lycee Francais in Berlin, Germany, May 3, 2016.

(REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a welcome ceremony at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2016.

(REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks at a combat diver during her visit to Naval Base Command in Kiel, Germany, January 19, 2016.

(REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Independent suggested Merkel was referring to September 2015, when she drew criticism for opening Germany's borders. Later, many blamed Merkel for a string of New Year's Eve sexual assaults and robberies that many alleged had been perpetrated by refugees. (According to a February report from the Independent, three of the 58 men arrested for the mass attack were refugees from Syria or Iraq.)

Merkel condemned the attacks, promising to ensure the country's deportation system was fully functional.

"There are some very serious questions which arise from what has happened which have relevance beyond Cologne," she said at the time, according to Reuters. The outlet reported Merkel had alluded to "establishing whether there are common patterns of behavior by some groups of people who do not respect women" — a rather pointed dig at Muslim refugees.

Following the attacks, the chancellor also emphasized the question of "cultural coexistence," a notion that seems to underpin Merkel and her allies' insistence on a burqa ban. The true motivation behind such a policy, though, is usually more insidious, driven by a prejudice toward Islam and its religious principles.

12 PHOTOS
Migrants arriving in Germany
See Gallery
Migrants arriving in Germany
SCHOENEFELD, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: A policeman touches the window playing with a child while migrants take a bus after arriving on an ICE high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn from Munich near Berlin on September 13, 2015 in Schoenefeld, Germany. In an effort to deal with a weekend influx of over 13,000 migrants in Munich Deutsche Bahn for the first time reserved an ICE train solely for the migrants and asked regular passenger to switch to other trains. Germany is struggling to accommodate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the last few weeks, most of them via the so-called Balkan route through Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Migrants arriving at Schoenefeld are transferred with buses to shelters in Berlin. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
Refugees are seen after arriving at the main railway station in Dortmund, western Germany, on September 13, 2015. Germany may take in one million refugees this year, up from the record 800,000 arrivals predicted so far, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on September 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / MAJA HITIJ +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read MAJA HITIJ/AFP/Getty Images)
Refugee children wave as they sit in a special train heading to western German town of Dortmund at the main train station in Munich, southern Germany, on September 13, 2015. Thousands of refugees arrived in Germany during the weekend, coming from Hungary and Austria. AFP PHOTO / DPA / SVEN HOPPE +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read SVEN HOPPE/AFP/Getty Images)
Refugees walk down the stairs after arriving at the main railway station in Dortmund, western Germany, on September 13, 2015. Germany may take in one million refugees this year, up from the record 800,000 arrivals predicted so far, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on September 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / MAJA HITIJ +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read MAJA HITIJ/AFP/Getty Images)
Migrants wait for a special train for Berlin in the hall of the main train station in Munich, southern Germany, on September 13, 2015. Thousands of refugees arrived in Germany during the weekend, coming from Hungary and Austria. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: Refugees walk to a train bound for Dortmund at the main railway station on September 13, 2015 in Munich, Germany. Hundreds of refugees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, arrive in Germany after Hungary has opened his borders for them to travel for Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SCHOENEFELD, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: Migrants leave the trainstation after arriving on an ICE high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn from Munich near Berlin on September 13, 2015 in Schoenefeld, Germany. In an effort to deal with a weekend influx of over 13,000 migrants in Munich Deutsche Bahn for the first time reserved an ICE train solely for the migrants and asked regular passenger to switch to other trains. Germany is struggling to accommodate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the last few weeks, most of them via the so-called Balkan route through Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Migrants arriving at Schoenefeld are transferred with buses to shelters in Berlin. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
SCHOENEFELD, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: Migrants takes a bus after arriving on an ICE high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn from Munich near Berlin on September 13, 2015 in Schoenefeld, Germany. In an effort to deal with a weekend influx of over 13,000 migrants in Munich Deutsche Bahn for the first time reserved an ICE train solely for the migrants and asked regular passenger to switch to other trains. Germany is struggling to accommodate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the last few weeks, most of them via the so-called Balkan route through Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Migrants arriving at Schoenefeld are transferred with buses to shelters in Berlin. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
SCHOENEFELD, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: Migrants takes a bus after arriving on an ICE high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn from Munich near Berlin on September 13, 2015 in Schoenefeld, Germany. In an effort to deal with a weekend influx of over 13,000 migrants in Munich Deutsche Bahn for the first time reserved an ICE train solely for the migrants and asked regular passenger to switch to other trains. Germany is struggling to accommodate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the last few weeks, most of them via the so-called Balkan route through Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Migrants arriving at Schoenefeld are transferred with buses to shelters in Berlin. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
SCHOENEFELD, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: A girl waves holding balloons through the window as migrants take a bus after arriving on an ICE high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn from Munich near Berlin on September 13, 2015 in Schoenefeld, Germany. In an effort to deal with a weekend influx of over 13,000 migrants in Munich Deutsche Bahn for the first time reserved an ICE train solely for the migrants and asked regular passenger to switch to other trains. Germany is struggling to accommodate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the last few weeks, most of them via the so-called Balkan route through Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Migrants arriving at Schoenefeld are transferred with buses to shelters in Berlin. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: Migrants arrive by train at Munich Hauptbahnhof railway station on September 13, 2015 in Munich, Germany. German authorities are expecting 10,000 migrants to arrive on trains today, mostly from Hungary via Austria, on top of the approximately 20,000 that have arrived in the last 48 hours. Germany is distributing the migrants across the country and is struggling to register and house them. Many of the migrants are coming from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq and are reaching western Europe via the Balkans. (Photo by Philipp Guelland/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In May, Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, a member of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany, said at a party debate, "Islam is foreign to us and for that reason it cannot invoke the principle of religious freedom to the same degree as Christianity." According to Reuters, a chapter of the party's manifesto reads, "Islam is not a part of Germany."

Still, Merkel called for Germany to rally behind her and her mission to unite the country. "The 2017 election for the Bundestag will be difficult like no previous election — at least since German reunification," she said on Tuesday. "You must help me."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.