Germany considering new security measures including a ban on the burqa

Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, will propose a series of new policies designed to combat security threats on Thursday. According to reports, the proposals will include a ban on the burqa. From the Guardian:

A ban on full face veils worn by some Muslim women, similar to the “ban on face covering” passed in France, was recently proposed by Jens Spahn, one of the up-and-coming figures on the right wing of Angela Merkel’s party.

“A ban on the full veil, ie the niqab and the burqa, is overdue and would be a signal to the world,” the CDU politician told Die Welt newspaper at the end of July. “I don’t want to encounter a burqa in this country. In that sense I am burqaphobic.”

In addition to the proposed burqa ban, there are several other changes being recommended including recruiting 15,000 additional police officers, making it easier to deport those found to be encouraging terrorism and a loosening of medical privacy laws to make it easier for doctors to report patients deemed to be a potential threat to public safety. From the Telegraph:

The document, already known as the Berlin Declaration, has already been signed by state interior ministers across Germany…

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.

Today, police in Germany raided the homes of three Islamic preachers suspected of recruiting for ISIS. From Deutsche Welle:

Raids took place in several German cities in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony on Wednesday morning, with police targeting three Islamist preachers suspected of recruiting members and backers for the extremist group “Islamic State” (IS), German public prosecutors said.

A spokesman for the prosecutors’ office in Karlsruhe told DW that one of the Islamists was believed to have given financial and logistical support to the group. He said that no arrests had been made so far.

The crackdown comes after a string of recent attacks including a suicide bombing in Ansbach which injured 15 people and New Year’s Eve celebrations during which 1,200 women across the country reported harassment, primarily by immigrant men.