BRUSSELS – European Union member states “should act to stop” Muslim women from wearing the full face veil, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Wednesday.
“The full veil runs contrary to the achievements of the European civilization,” Schaeuble told reporters after a meeting with the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee.
Schaeuble, whose country currently runs the agenda-setting EU presidency, said that communication with other people was a responsibility for the European citizen.
“You cannot communicate with the person wearing it (the full veil),” the minister said, adding: “Our communication is also to a great extent non-verbal.”
Schaeuble said he does not favor introducing European laws on the wearing of a full face veil. However, it would be an “incorrect understanding of tolerance if we were not brave enough to express ourselves on that.”
The German minister also said that the EU should promote the training of imams. But that such courses as well as the education of Muslim children should be held in the language of the EU member state.
Germany has said that it wants to use its six-month term at the 27-member bloc’s helmet to establish an EU-wide dialogue with Muslim leaders to improve integration, defuse tensions and fight “home-grown terrorism.”