Berlin, MINA – Motorists in Germany have been prohibited from driving with part or all of their face covered.
The move, brought in among a host of other new traffic laws, applies to all facial coverings including masks but has been interpreted by many as a ban on burqas and niqabs.
The German parliament’s upper house, the Bundesrat, introduced the measure to “ensure a driver’s identity can be determined” if they are caught speeding, The Independet reported.
Drivers now face a fine of 60 Euros (£53) if they cover their faces.
Although the law allows some religious head coverings such as headscarves worn by Muslim women, critics have said the move is symbolic.
Nurhan Soykan, of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims, told Deutsche Welle: “Proof of this is the fact that laws are being passed in areas that don’t need to be regulated.
“We know of no case in which a burqa or niqab wearer caused an accident that can be linked to wearing a full-body veil.”
Earlier this year, the German parliament supported a draft law banning women working in the civil service, judiciary and military from wearing a full-face Islamic veil.
German chancellor Angela Merkel announced her support for the move, saying full-face veils were “not acceptable” in the country and calling for them to be banned “wherever it is legally possible”.
In February, the state of Bavaria prohibited full-face Islamic veils in schools, universities, polling stations and government offices.
Several countries, including France, Belgium and the Netherlands, have introduced partial bans on wearing the Islamic full body covering.
The new ban was brought in with a host of other traffic laws, including fines for drivers who look at their mobile phones instead of the road.(R/R04/RS5)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)