Bulgaria’s parliament on Friday approved a law banning clothing that completely or partially covers the face. Violation of the law will lead to a fine equivalent to about $115, with significantly higher fines for repeated offenses, reports SVT.
Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire, but today has a Muslim minority of about 13 percent.
Muslim women in Bulgaria generally use hijab to cover their hair. But in recent times, a growing number of highly conservative women from the Roma minority have started wearing the niqab.
The MDL Party, which mainly represents the Turkish minority in the country, opposes the law and accuses the other parties of “religious intolerance”.
Other countries in Europe have adopted similar bans. France and Belgium have banned the burqa and the niqab, and the the Swiss parliament recently also approved a ban of the Muslim garb.
In France, the Supreme Administrative Court has lifted the ban on the Muslim swimsuit burkini, but several French cities have defied the law and upheld the ban.