Hesse Bans Burkas for State Workers

2 February 2011

The state of Hesse has banned the wearing of the burka – the Muslim dress that covers a woman’s face – by state employees during work hours, officials announced late Tuesday.

The decision was made by Interior Minister Boris Rhein in response to a worker at a local administrative office, or Bürgeramt, in Frankfurt who wanted to report for work wearing a burka. The woman is just finishing a period of parental leave but has been given some extra time to reconsider her position.

“We have allowed her a couple more days to think about the situation,” said Frankfurt city head of personnel Markus Frank. “We want to relieve the pressure somewhat.” The 39-year-old woman had the option of returning to work without her burka. Before she went on parenting leave, she wore a headscarf only.

Lower Saxony is set to follow the state of Hesse in banning the wearing of burkas – the Muslim dress that covers a woman’s face – by public sector workers, possibly creating a wave of regulations across the country.