Germany's top court in Karlsruhe has rejected an appeal by a woman against the rule, introduced last year, which forbids drivers from wearing face-covering. A Muslim, who has worn a niqab for seven years, insisted that the law should be suspended as it violates her religious freedom.
However the court ruled out any infringement of her freedoms, as she couldn’t prove that driving without her traditional outfit causes her harm or violates her liberties.
The appellant contended that because of the law, she can’t take a driving test and get a license, which she needs as a single mother in a rural area.
The controversial legal changes were approved in September, 2017, to improve traffic laws, secure better protection for drivers and help police investigating road violations. According to the law, drivers can "not cover up or obscure their face so that it is no longer recognizable."
Earlier in 2017, the lower house of the German parliament barred face covering for civil servants in a package of security measures, claiming it “contradicts the neutrality of state functionaries."
After years of endorsing multiculturalism, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also introduced the “open-door” migration policy in Germany, has changed her rhetoric. At her annual party conference, she said: “Misguided tolerance is as dangerous to our cohesion as populist incitement against anything foreign. Integration requires well defined underlying values and clear and noticeable consequences for those who refuse integration.”
Several of Germany’s neighbors have also barred face veils over the past few years. Belgium banned clothing covering the face in 2011. The same year, France prohibited wearing niqabs in public places. The Netherlands followed their example in 2016, as local lawmakers banned face-covering burqas in some public places over security concerns.