Merkel Wins, New Berlin Wall Stands
During a speech in Essen at a conference for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Germany on Tuesday, Angela Merkel announced her proposal to partially ban full-veiled burqas in Germany.
Juxtaposed against her open arms policy to over a million Syrian refugees, Merkel stated that, “the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever it is legally possible.” Merkel faces backlash from opponents and citizens as she seeks a fourth term as chancellor.
In 2011, France adopted a similar law, a political move seen as broadly negative for the country as a whole and their already strained relationships with the Muslim community. Merkel specifically noted that, “Our [German] law takes precedence before tribal rules, codes of honor, and Sharia.”
It begs the question of what German law means to Merkel. If she allows the overwhelmingly Muslim Syrian people to live in peace in Germany, who is to say that the majority of refugees are pushing against German law? How would the law be enforced? Are asylum seekers in danger of facing a police-state attitude by their keepers?
Merkel’s speech came after she won re-election as chairwoman of CDU on Tuesday with 89.5 percent of votes cast by just under 1,000 party delegates. It’s important to note that this fell short of the 96.7 percent she received two years prior.
As Merkel seeks re-election as Chancellor, this may be her appeasement to the German right. Given Germany’s struggles with the refugee crisis and fears of terrorism, she may be approaching it as a means to make her people feel safer. Regardless of motive, Merkel will more than likely be asked to substantiate her position as the election moves along.