Protect Religious Freedom in Germany: Say NO to Veil Bans!

On Tuesday, Angela Merkel - the current Chancellor of Germany - made comments suggesting that certain religious veils should be illegal. At the Christian Democratic Union gathering, she said, "The full veil is not appropriate here, it should be forbidden wherever that is legally possible. It does not belong to us."

Setting bans on certain religious garb sets a dangerous precedent. Punishing women for exercising a freedom that harms no one is a sympathetic nod to dangerous Islamophobia, which is rapidly-spreading across Europe. Women who wear the niqab cite a number of reasons - piety, affirming or showing solidarity with their Muslim identity, or simply because they do not like being gawked at by men in public. It is not Germany's place to decide whether or not they can make this decision for themselves.

Studies show that rather than liberating women, these laws restrict their rights even more. Many women choose to just stay at home once these bans are put in place. Thus, this is as much an attack on women as it is on Islam. Also, these measures invite extremists to paint Germany as an enemy of Islam. Quite simply, the bans are both unjust and accomplish nothing.

A ban on certain veils would send a clear signal: human rights do not matter, and certain cultures and religions have privileges over others. Angela Merkel should retract her statement immediately. Sign this petition now to demand that Germany respect all cultures and religions and not place bans on veils.

On Tuesday, Angela Merkel - the current Chancellor of Germany - made comments suggesting that certain religious veils should be illegal. At the Christian Democratic Union gathering, she said, "The full veil is not appropriate here, it should be forbidden wherever that is legally possible. It does not belong to us."

Setting bans on certain religious garb sets a dangerous precedent. Punishing women for exercising a freedom that harms no one is a sympathetic nod to dangerous Islamophobia, which is rapidly-spreading across Europe. Women who wear the niqab cite a number of reasons - piety, affirming or showing solidarity with their Muslim identity, or simply because they do not like being gawked at by men in public. It is not Germany's place to decide whether or not they can make this decision for themselves.

This proposition of a ban follows a series of similar legislation across Europe. But many studies show that rather than liberating women, these laws restrict their rights even more. Many women choose to just stay at home once these bans are put in place, isolating them and shredding them of their dignity. Thus, this is as much an attack on women as it is on Islam. Also, these measures invite extremists to paint Germany as an enemy of Islam. Quite simply, the bans are both unjust and accomplish nothing.

A ban on certain veils would send a clear signal: human rights do not matter, and certain cultures and religions have privileges over others. Angela Merkel should retract her statement immediately. Germany should respect all cultures and religions and not place bans on veils.

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