Does Germany’s Face Covering Fine While Driving Target Muslim Women?

ILLUSTRATION – A woman wearing a burqa in front of a German flag in Leipzig, Germany, 26 August 2017 (posed scene). Photo: Peter Endig/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB

The German parliament has ruled that drivers are not allowed to wear anything to cover their face while driving.

While the Bundesrat says the measure is for safety and security, many are interpreting it as a move against burqas.

The burqa is a garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover their face and bodies while they’re in public. Anyone who proceeds to wear anything to cover their face while driving will be fined €60 (£53).

The move has angered some within the German Islamic community, with Nurhan Soykan, of the country’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.”

The new regulation allows police to ensure they can identify the driver if they’re caught speeding or in violation of other rules.

Germany’s Transport Ministry has issued a statement: “The rule of law requires that only drivers can be held accountable. That presumes that they can be identified.”

While the European country hasn’t directly targeted burqas this time, it has signalled support for preventing women from wearing them in other areas. In April, the Parliament approved a draft law banning full-faced veils in the civil service, judiciary and military.

Angela Merkel

Credit: PA

At the time, Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said: “Integration also means that we should make clear and impart our values and where the boundaries of our tolerance towards other cultures lie.

“The draft law we have agreed on makes an important contribution to that.”

At least half of Germany’s 16 states have ruled that teachers aren’t allowed to even wear headscarves. Chancellor Angela Merkel said last year that she would like to outlaw the full-faced veil, telling delegates in Essen: “The full-face veil is not acceptable in our country. It should be banned, wherever it is legally possible.”

There have been similar moves made around the continent, with France becoming the first country to outlaw the full face covering in 2011.

The ruling prohibited anyone from leaving their home with their face hidden behind a veil. France was followed by Belgium a few months later, which included a law that prevented anyone from obscuring their face in public places like a school or park.

Sources: The IndependentBBCMetro

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