Press review: “When in doubt, pro freedom”
A couple of weeks ago, the interior ministers of the Christian Democratic Union put a burka ban on their agenda. Ever since, Germany discusses the Islamic garment for women once again – probably also influenced by the current events in France, where some communities have enforced a burkini ban on the beach and where publicly wearing a burka is already prohibited since 2010. The burka, polemically called “burial shroud” by feminist Alice Schwarzer, is actually almost never worn in Germany. The term is often used mistakenly for any kind of veiling that goes beyond the headscarf (Hidschab).
What is Mathias Rohe’s opinion on the topic? Rohe, Islamic scholar and lawyer as well as the director of the Erlangen center for Islam and Law in Europe, personally thinks of the burka as an “imposition”. However, for him it is also clear that “a society has to be able to handle such impositions”. For Rohe, a general burka ban is unrealistic. Such a ban could only be justified in exceptional cases. On road transport or in certain professions, security threats might outweigh the religious freedom, Rohe is quoted in the magazine Der Spiegel. Anywhere, where open communication was necessary, a ban might be enforced. The same applied to public servants and in schools, he told the newspaper der Merkur. All in all, however, Rohe is against a general burka ban: “When in doubt, pro freedom”.