Germany partially approves ban on burqas

Angela Merkel recently called for burqas to be banned ‘wherever legally possible’.

MPs in the lower house of parliament in Germany have approved a partial ban on the burqa.

The draft law stipulates that public servants will be forbidden from wearing the full-face veil while performing their duties.

The move comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on the burqa "wherever legally possible."

Speaking about the partial ban, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said "Integration also means that we should make clear and impart our values and where the boundaries of our tolerance towards other cultures lie."

He concluded by saying "The draft law we have agreed on makes an important contribution to that."

In February the southern state of Bavaria, which is ruled by the Christian Social Union, the sister party to Merkel’s conservatives said it would ban the veil in schools, universities, government buildings and polling stations.

Germany's constitution 

Merkel who is facing elections in the Autumn, has lost support from the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party over the migrant crisis.

Some right-wing politicians have called for a full ban on the burqa in public, which has been imposed in France and Belgium, but the Interior Minister said the move would be incompatible with Germany’s constitution.

Many critics say that a full burqa ban would violate the right to religious freedom enshrined in the country's constitution.

The new law will require government employees to show their faces, as well as giving authorities the power to check women’s identities in elections.