Dh260 fine for wearing burka while driving in Germany

A new traffic law in Germany under which a motorist wearing a burka while driving invites a fine of ?60 (Dh260) has sparked row.

The German parliament's upper house, the Bundesrat, contends it has introduced the law to 'ensure a driver's identity can be determined' if they are found speeding.

If a motorist is found driving with facial covering, including carnival masks and face-obscuring hoods, the driver will be fined ?60.

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, was quoted by  Metro.co.uk as telling 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 Transportation Ministry refused to say on whether the legislation essentially meant a 'burka ban' but pointed out: "The rule of law requires that only drivers can be held accountable. That presumes that they can be identified."

Earlier, the German parliament had backed a draft law banning women working in the civil service, judiciary and military from wearing a full-face veil.

In February, Bavaria introduced ban on the full-face veil in schools, universities, polling stations and government offices.

Apart from the new facial ban, the new traffic law also imposes fines on drivers who are caught busy on their mobile phones, rather than concentrating on the road.