DThe police, who had started working in the courtyard of the women's cooperative "Weiberwirtschaft" in Berlin-Mitte, was a clear signal: the petition of the women's rights organization Terre des Femmes (TdF) in Berlin on Thursday has political explosiveness.
Only with registration were the journalists allowed to attend the press conference for security reasons. Eventually, Seyran Ates was also on stage. The women's rights activist and co-founder of the liberal Berlin Ibn Rushd Goethe mosque has been under police protection for some time, because Islamists wish her death. Ates signed the petition with 43 other prominent supporters – politicians, publicists and cultural workers. They include Necla Kelek, Ali Ertan Toprak, Sibel Kekilli, Ahmad Mansour, Alice Schwarzer, Lisa Fitz, Maria von Welser, Ingrid Noll and Boris Palmer.
Terre des Femmes calls on the federal government to ban headscarves for all Muslim girls younger than 18 years old. With a two-thirds majority, the association's general assembly had decided the claim last May – even against opposition from its own ranks.
Now the women's rights organization wants to help the petition "Have your head free" to success. "Disguising girls of all ages – an increasing phenomenon in many schools and even kindergartens – stands for discrimination and sexualisation of minors," it says.
Terres des Femmes therefore argues for a legal ban on so-called child headscarves in public places – particularly in educational institutions – for all underage girls. "For us, the headscarf of the children is a violation of children's rights," says TdF federal manager Christa Stolle. The organization therefore calls for a ban on giving girls the opportunity to grow up and live independently, independently and freely.
Babies with hijabs on the internet
Stolle makes no secret that advertising for supporters was not easy. Many people agreed in personal conversations, but they did not want to position themselves all. "Many are afraid to be labeled as racist and right-wing populists", says the director of TdF. The major petition platforms have therefore decided not to promote the claim by distributing it in their e-mail distribution lists.
And associations such as Generation Islam and Reality Islam set the mood with their own petition, says Stolle. There is also a campaign on the net: "Under the hashtag, #NotMyHeadscarf" are published on the internet videos that already have babies with hijabs, "says Stolle." This is no longer about practicing their own faith, but about the abuse of children for fundamentalist purposes. "
Sigrid Peter, Vice President of the Federal Pediatric Society, reports on health risks for the girls. So her vitamin D levels are significantly reduced and their mobility is severely limited. "Here the rights of the children are trampled on."
The women's rights organization is alarmed by the extent to which headscarves wear has increased in recent years – even in young children before puberty. Twenty years ago there were no girls with headscarves at primary schools, emphasized the director of Frankfurt's Global Research Center, Susanne Schröter. Exact figures were missing, however. In the meantime, however, this phenomenon can be observed in many places. "Girls should learn to become women as children."
This early indoctrination is also central to Terres des Femmes. "Fundamentalists do not want women to know how life feels without a headscarf, but open shavers create a sense of shame, nudity and incompleteness," says the organization's policy paper. Likewise, religious bullying and insults such as "slut" or "infidels" have increased enormously against girls who refuse to adapt.
Lawyer Ates continues and speaks of "gender apartheid". However, it does not lead to a fight against Islam, but clarifies the liberal imamin. "I fight patriarchy, not Islam." Here the constitutional principles of religious freedom and equal rights must be weighed against each other.
"Flag of the Islamic movement"
For years, Terres des Femmes has observed that there is a radical development within the Islamic umma (community) that Muslims around the world regard as their ambassadors, says Necla Kelek, CEO of Terres des Femmes. "The headscarf is the flag of the Islamic movement." Without a legal ban on children's headscarves that can not be accepted, Kelek said. "But politics looks away and does not take seriously what is happening here."
The CDU politician and journalist Ali Ertan Toprak even speaks of an extreme right-wing ideology that increasingly wanted to occupy public space. Many liberals did not want to accept that. "I am here today for my three-year-old daughter Mira, I want her to grow up and decide for herself how to dress."
With the public presentation of her petition, Terre des Femmes hopes to reach even more supporters for her request for a headscarf ban for minors. The organization wants to hold discussions with all bourgeois parties, Kelek announced. Nobody should have the fear of being placed in the right corner, emphasized CDU politician Toprak: "Criticism of religion is not racism, but an essential point of the Enlightenment." The organization explicitly distinguishes itself from the "backward image of women of the AfD".
Your goal in the petition: 100,000 signatures, so far below 10,000 have come together. The petition "Your vote against the headscarf ban" – launched after the April debate about a headscarf ban in North Rhine-Westphalia – already has 138,000.