Motorists in Germany have been prohibited from driving with part or all of their face covered in a move that some claim unfairly targets female Muslim drivers.
The German parliament’s upper house, the Bundesrat, introduced the new law to ‘ensure a driver’s identity can be determined’ if they’re caught speeding.
Anyone found with a facial covering, including carnival masks and face-obscuring hoods, will be fined €60 ($72).
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.
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.” He added “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 German parliament has previously 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”.
Similar measures across Europe have sparked outrage in recent months.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland have enacted partial bans on wearing the Islamic full body covering, and a party leader in Australia caused a stir this past August by appearing in parliament dressed in a burqa. Civil servants in Germany are prohibited from wearing full-face veils throughout Germany, and burqas are prohibited in certain public spaces in Bavaria and other German states.