Georgia Legislator Introduces Law that Prevents Women from Wearing Burqas When Driving

A Georgia lawmaker introduced a new bill on Wednesday that would prevent women from wearing burqas when driving on public roads and while posing for ID and driver’s license photos, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, penned the bill, known as House Bill 3, which prevents Muslim women from wearing a veil and burqa in ID photos. The bill would also make female Muslim garb subject to the state’s anti-masking law, which prohibits Ku Klux Klan robes and hoods.

Currently, the state’s anti-masking statute only refers to men. House Bill 3 would amend the law to include females as well.

The law currently reads:

“A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so.”

A new line would also be added to the law, which would prohibit women from wearing Muslim garb when driving on public streets, highways and roads.

Spencer says the bill would only apply to women driving on public streets, but others warn that the vague language used in the bill could also be applied in a broader sense to include public places in general.

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Council on American-Islamic Relations in Georgia, said, “We have a new president, but not a new constitution. The bill is unnecessary and unconstitutional, and we intend to oppose it if it goes forward.”

Mitchell called the legislation a “bad solution to a nonexistent problem.”

Muslims in Georgia say they are aware of the bill, and leaders in the community say they plan to oppose it.