Western German city of Koblenz banned Islamic swimwear burkini at pools drawing condemnation from Turkish and Muslim community in the city. The new bill heralds something much more dangerous than banning of an Islamic tradition: rising influence of racist AFD on German public life and Merkel’s CDU finding a common ground with far-right AFD.
Angela Merkel’s center right party CDU proposed the measure to the city council but needed support from another party to pass since it does not hold the majority in the city parliament. the proposed bill seeking to ban the Islamic swimwear, CDU found the support from AFD, the far-right party known for its ant-islamic stance.
The proposed bill passed the city council on Thursday night after heated discussions and by only a small margin after securing support of AFD. The Greens which opposed the bill reacted to it. Anne Spiegel, The Integration Minister of Rhineland Pfalz where Koblenz is condemn the ban as “risible and nonsensical.”
Matthias Joa, on the other hand, the state leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany, countered: “The burkini is more than just swimwear. It symbolises and makes manifest the inequality between women and men in fundamentalist Islam. This world view is in stark contrast to our liberal democratic society.”
The state’s central Muslim council said the pools should be open to everyone without discrimination in society.
Turkish NGO’s also condemn the bill by saying it would pave the way for more prohibitions on Islamic practices and discriminate woman who wear burkini.
A Turkish journalist, Egemen Canturk, pointed out that what is more dangerous than discrimination or prohibition is AFD’s influence on German politics. “The AFD may still not be the governing or main opposition party at the Federal level but in this case we clearly see how much influence they might have on daily life of German public,” he pointed out.
A member of Integration Council who did not provide his name says Merkel’s CDU finding a common ground here with racist AFD is the most dangerous of all.