Simone Stein-Luecke, mayor of the Bad Godesberg district in the German city of Bonn, made headlines when she recently posted a picture of a cucumber on Facebook.
She posted it as a joke, because the cucumber allegedly looks like a woman wearing a burka. Above the picture she added the word “Gurka,” a pun on “gerke,” the German word for cucumber.
“The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils,” explains the BBC. “It is a one-piece veil that covers the face and body, often leaving just a mesh screen to see through.”
The mayor has come under fire for making the joke, reports the Daily Mail, though no examples of criticism are given.
It is noted, however, that the joke coincides with the announced closure of the King Fahd Academy -- a Saudi school in her district that has been accused of spreading jihadist ideology.
In response, Stein-Luecke said: “I respect every religion. But I have always stressed that I am opposed to a full-face veil. It was a humorous post -- no more, no less. Perhaps the timing of the post yesterday was unfortunate. But I still find it amusing.”
According to The Telegraph, the burka is banned in at least some parts of the following countries: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, The Congo, Turkey and Switzerland.
In response to burka-banning, Human Rights Watch issued the following statement:
To its critics, the burka has also become a symbol of Islamist radicalism and even terrorism and is increasingly being seen as a threat to efforts to integrate Muslim migrants into British and European society.
A legal ban in Europe on the wearing of the burka in public life would be just as much a violation of the rights of those women who wish to wear it as is the forcing of the veil on those women who do not wish to wear it in, for example, Iran or Saudi Arabia.