A new German law banned face-obscuring clothing for drivers, angering Muslims who say that the law is unnecessary and anti-Islamic.
The German Bundesrat’s final session before Germany’s Sept. 24 elections approved the ban on facial coverings for drivers, citing the need to determine a driver’s identity in the case of a crime or accident, according to Deutsche Welle. The law applies to any form of facial covering and does not outlaw head scarves such as the Islamic hijab. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany, however, have interpreted the law to be a “burka ban,” specifically targeting Muslims, and decried it as “symbolic politics.”
“Proof of this is the fact that laws are being passed in areas that don’t need to regulated,” deputy council chairman Nurhan Soykan told DW. “We know of no case in which a burka or niqab wearer caused an accident that can be linked to wearing a full-body veil.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared her support for the new law and said that face-obscuring items like the burka were “not acceptable” and that they should be outlawed “wherever it is legally possible,” according to Independent.
Drivers caught wearing face-obscuring clothing will be fined 60 euros under the new law.
The German Transportation Ministry did not comment on whether or not the law was meant to target Muslims specifically but stated “the rule of law requires that only drivers can be held accountable. That presumes that they can be identified,” according to DW.
Germany, which already banned burkas in schools, universities, government offices, and polling stations in the state of Bavaria, joins a host of other countries in both Europe, Central Asia, and Africa that have varying degrees of bans on Islamic face coverings.
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