The EU has a court of sorts....whose chief job is to monitor EU countries and render verdicts over human rights violations. To be honest, with the standards of most EU countries....there's not a hotbed of activity for this court to handle....at least until the last year.
You see....those pesky French folks went out and got hostile over the Burka....the traditional head and facial covering of Islamic gals. In 2011, the French made up this rule....you can wear a covering over your hair, but that's it. No full facial bukas. No Niqab, which allows only the eyes to be seen. So you only have two options, the Tschador (which shows the outline of your face), or the Hidschab (which shows the face and the neck).
The EU Court for Human Rights....got dragged into the French debate, and finally decided in the last week or two that there wasn't any rights violated. The French simply stated what you had to do....to comply with accepted society expectations.
Almost immediately, Catalonia (the northeastern state of Spain) announced that they'd run up the same regulation.
Naturally, a curious American watching all of this....would ask stupid questions. How did the court make it's decision? Well....they said that we all "live together"....which means you need to fit within your local society and culture. Hiding yourself.....just won't work.
Is this a big deal? That's the curious thing. What the French say is that at best....there's roughly two thousand women in all of France....who did the full-up Burka thing. Yeah.....just two thousand.
Here in Wiesbaden? In a full year that I've been around in Hessen (Mainz, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, the airport, etc).....I've seen a total of four women in full-up Burkas. I will admit that the Hidschab is fairly popular....I've probably seen two thousand such women in that attire. If you walk around the shopping district of Wiesbaden.....you might notice twenty such women on a typical day.
For me personally, the Hidschab attire isn't a big deal. I think the whole thing is kinda hot/sweaty on a July afternoon with temperatures in the 35 Celsius range (90 degrees). I'd have to drink an awful lot of ice tea after I walked around shopping if I wore this outfit. Otherwise, it's Ok.
Muslims upset by this EU ruling? No. I'd suspect that ninety-eight percent of all Muslims in Germany don't care. Most Turks that came in over the past forty years.....never wear the Burka. I'd say the same thing for most Syrians that have immigrated into Germany. So, it's only a few oddball groups that are extreme in their beliefs and press the wives to continue on. Yet, the guy who is in this environment.....observes the open-blouse situations of various German women and just grins.
Where does this lead onto? Comments in various German newspapers indicate that several states are reviewing their own dress regulation, and likely to go the French-way. Bavaria....I'm guessing will lead on this. Hessen? Dead-last....because of this Greens-CDU relationship running the state government.