Germany mulls school uniforms, burka ban

Berlin, Germany - A debate over school uniforms is waging in Germany after two Muslim girls were banned from classes for attending school veiled from head-to-toe in burkas.

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries spoke out in favor of school uniforms over the weekend, resulting in heated debate on the issue.

Two 18-year-old students in the former German capital city of Bonn attended school wearing burkas, black robes that drape the wearer from head-to-toe, leaving only a small slit for the eyes, for the first time.

School officials saw the move as a political statement, Deutsche Welle Online said, and the two were suspended from school.

The burka became well-known in the West after it became mandatory for Afghan women under the Taliban regime.

In an interview with the Welt am Sonntag weekly about whether veiled pupils should be allowed to attend class, Zypries said "a simple solution to end the conflict would be having all students, male or female, wear uniforms to school. That would not only get rid of burkas, but also clear up problems of social inequality."

The Green Party has strongly criticized Zypries for what its members feel is a policy interfering with religious freedom.