A restaurant owner in Germany has been accused of racism on social media when he allegedly told a woman wearing a “niqab” — a Muslim woman’s face veil — to remove it or leave the premises.
On Saturday, around 3000 guests, including a niqab-wearing woman, turned up at the Seekrug restaurant located at the Obersee lake in Bielefeld to attend a Festival of Light, reported the Rheinische Post. But when proprietor Christian Schulz saw the head-to-toe covered woman, he asked her to remove the veil claiming certain people would object to the conservative clothing “because it gives several guests an uncomfortable feeling to have fully veiled women in their midst.”
The “uncomfortable feeling” Schulz talked about is apparently the one echoed by many German politicians. According to one Bavarian Christian Social Union leader, Horst Seehofer, the niqab and burka are “the uniform of Islamism,” and as such need to be banned.
However, many others believe what a person chooses to wear is an elements of freedom of speech. Hence it was no surprise when Schulz act was met with intense backlash on social media.
Christian Schulz Biergarten Seekrug Bielefeld erteilt Hausverbot wegen Nikab. intolerant und diskriminierend pic.twitter.com/Spf0IkL26W— Gary Thomas (@HRinternational) September 15, 2016
However Schulz seems shocked by the hostility and claimed when he told the woman to remove her niqab, she started insulting him and then left the place. The restaurateur further defended his action claiming such requests aren’t “unreasonable at such a big event.”
“It’s pretty crazy what’s been written about us, even the staff have (sic) been insulted,” Schulz told the RP and said on a Facebook post that he had to delete nearly 800 comments vilifying him as a xenophobe.
To prove he was no racist, Schulz also claimed he employs people of all nationalities including Nigerians, Pakistanis and Portuguese.
Not surprisingly, the owner has had a lot of support on Facebook from other hate mongering people.
“Full Tribute! That's what I call moral courage! If only 50 % of the German people, better still, the western world, would react to this parasitic disease, then our good old west would be a lot safer and quality of life would be higher!” said one such user.
The veil debate follows in the same vein as the burkini dispute in France. Although there is no nation-wide ban on the niqab or burka, German states are allowed to impose regional restrictions of their own accord. At least half of Germany’s states have banned teachers from wearing headscarves and in Hesse, the ban applies to all civil servants.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Fahad Shadeed