Merkel in Islamic dress sparks debate

2015-10-07 17:28
Image from Bericht aus Berlin of Angela Merkel in a Burka.

Image from Bericht aus Berlin of Angela Merkel in a Burka.

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Berlin - A German news programme depicting chancellor Angela Merkel in black Islamic head covering before a Berlin skyline dotted with minarets, divided viewers this week.

The Bericht aus Berlin (Report from Berlin) broadcast on Sunday evening looked at how Germany would cope with growing numbers of asylum seekers.

By Tuesday broadcaster ARD had received 87 phone calls and hundreds of comments and likes on social media site Facebook.

Addressing people's fears of migration, presenter Rainald Becker had asked: "What will happen to our values? How do we react, if refugees have issues with equal opportunities, with women's rights or with freedom of opinion and freedom of the press?"

Most viewers reactions were positive, commending the broadcaster for tackling the issue.

"I think it's good that the ARD uses this photo montage to highlight the issue of women in Islam," one viewer told the broadcaster via their phone hotline.

Another came to Merkel's defence: "Why is Ms Merkel being offended like that? She has achieved so much. She is a role model. You mustn't treat press freedom like that."

Sabine Knott, Head of Viewer Reaction at the broadcaster told dpa: "The programme has polarised viewers very strongly and triggered some emotional responses."

"Some viewers said it was important that citizens' concerns were finally taken seriously and to show what the situation in Germany looks like at the moment. Others were very upset, saying we promoted the likes of [right-wing group] Pegida," Knott said.

"I had one lady from an ethnic minority background on the phone who works as a journalist herself, and she was all upset. She was crying on the phone saying that she felt degraded as a woman seeing Angela Merkel depicted like that on screen," Knott told dpa.

A report in the daily tabloid Bild on Monday cited internal confidential figures that showed the numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Germany will hit 1.5 million this year - almost double the government's current official forecasts of 800 000.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  syria  |  germany  |  refugees

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