German ministers urge burqa ban and end to dual citizenship

The demands come as Angela Merkel\'s government prepares to unveil increased security measures in the wake of recent terror attacks.

Published: 11th August 2016 08:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2016 08:21 AM   |  A+A-

BERLIN: Senior ministers in Germany have called for a ban on burqas and an end to dual citizenship in response to the threat from terrorism.

The demands come as Angela Merkel's government prepares to unveil increased security measures in the wake of recent terror attacks.

Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, is to detail the new proposals today (Thursday), including the deportation of preachers who incite terror.

But senior elected officials from Mrs Merkel's own Christian Democrat party (CDU) believe the new measures do not go far enough, and have published a series of more far-reaching proposals.

Mr de Maiziere is believed to support the call for tougher measures, and will add his signature to the proposals next week, according to local press reports.

The document, known as the Berlin Declaration, has been signed by state interior ministers across Germany. It includes 27 measures to increase security, including thousands of new police officers and video camera surveillance in city centres.

But the most controversial proposals are the calls for a ban on the full-face burqa in public and an end to dual citizenship.

Some lawyers have argued a ban on heascarves in public could require a change to the German constitution, which protects freedom of religious expression.

The declaration calls for an end to dual citizenship on the grounds that it impedes integration. Under the current law, refugees and those born in Germany to immigrant parents are allowed dual citizenship. "We reject this divided loyalty," the declaration reads. "We suggest whoever wants to get involved with the politics of foreign governments leaves Germany."

It is not clear whether the proposal would apply to nationals from other EU countries, who are also allowed dual citizenship under current laws.

The proposal calls for dual nationals who fight for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) or other extremist organisations to be stripped of their German citizenship.

Under Germany's federal system, law and order are largely the preserve of the 16 state governments. The interior ministers who have signed the declaration are all members of the CDU or its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which means there will be considerable pressure for Mrs Merkel's government to adopt at least some of the measures.

French 14-year-olds are to receive training on how to handle a terror attack on their schools following a spate of Islamist killings in recent months.

From September, pupils aged 14 and upwards will be taught basic "life-saving" measures and school heads will be required to carry out mock attack exercises and to secure "vulnerable areas".


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