Bulgarian Police Issue First Fine for Wearing Full-Face Veil in Public

Domestic | May 16, 2016, Monday // 19:46|  views

File photo by BGNES

Police in Pazardzhik has issued the first fine in Bulgaria for wearing a face-covering Islamic veil in a public place, radio broadcaster BNR reported on Monday.

A woman wearing an opaque veil that hid her entire face with the exception of the eyes was stopped in the street by police who asked her to show her identity card, BNR said.

As the woman carried no identity document, she was taken to a police station in the Roma neighbourhood of Pazardzhik to find out who she was. Police found that the woman was a resident of that neighbourhood.

The woman wil have to pay a fine of up to BGN 300 for first-time violation of an order of Pazardzhik Municipal Council which bans the wearing of apparel that hampers personal identification. Failure to pay the fine will result in suspension of social security benefits of the person who has violated the local government regulation. Fines for repeated violations of the ban can reach BGN 1,000 apiece.

Pazardzhik became the first city in Bulgaria to ban the wearing of full-face veils in public places last month, citing potential threat to security. The city of Stara Zagora has followed suit, prohibiting the wearing of those veils which have never been typical for Muslim women in Bulgaria.

Popularly known in Bulgaria as the "burqa ban" (even though most women it is targeting wear the so-called niqab which leaves the eyes and part of the nose uncovered), the restriction was first put forward by Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, who suggested to prohibit the wearing of "burqas" in public places.

Proponents of the ban have maintained that, while full Islamic veils might be typical for some Gulf states and elsewhere, they have nothing to do with the religious traditions of Bulgarian Muslims.


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Tags: Bulgaria, veil, Pazardzhik, Muslim, Islamic, Stara Zagora


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