BERLIN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Hesse, a state run by Chancellor
Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, on Wednesday became the
first German region to ban Muslim face veils for public sector
Hesse Interior Minister Boris Rhein announced it was "not
acceptable" for the 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 burqa in the classroom after
returning from maternity leave. She had not previously worn one.
Debates about outlawing burqas have spread across Europe
after France banned the Muslim face veils. [ID:nLDE6901F9]
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
burqa 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.
(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Jon Boyle)
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