US Antimasking law could make publicly wearing Niqabs and Hijabs illegal

Jason Spencer, a state Representative from the Republican Party has introduced the anti-masking bill where the already present anti-masking law will be altered in its language to accommodate the new clauses. The new form of the law will penalize Muslim women if they publicly wear burqas, niqabs and hijabs. The proposed amendment has raised concerns that there will be more laws which ostensibly target religious freedom. This comes at a time when there is a surge in hate crimes after the presidential election win of Donald J. Trump. The anti-masking bill is set to prohibit any veil or hood when the wearer poses for the driver’s license phot

KKK law amended

The existing anti-masking law specifically targeted members of the Ku Klux Klan and was passed in 1951. The legislation was designed to prevent Klan members from engaging in violence under the anonymity of hiding their face underneath the Klan hoods. Representative Spencer wants to expand the scope of the law, and include women who drive on public roads wearing any face covering to make that a misdemeanor.

The new language written in House Bill 3 suggests that such prohibition of any headwear could be applicable to any kind of public property. If one goes by the law, then any person can be charged with misdemeanor if that individual wears a device, or a mask, or a hood due to which the wearer’s identity is hidden. This hiding of the face is not permissible in any public property or any private property of other individual without written permission given by the occupier or the owner of the property.

Strong opposition

Muslim advocacy groups have fiercely opposed the bill. According to Edward Ahmed Mitchell of Council on American Islamic Relations based in Georgia, this bill can be described as bad solution on the face of a problem which does not exist in the first place. He said that Muslim American women are not endangering the lives of any person or themselves. He said that although the US has a new president, the constitution remain unchanged. He added that the bill is unconstitutional and not needed at all.

Post Trump emerging victorious in the presidential election, a number of Muslims living in the United States have expressed that they are afraid. They claim that they were warned for wearing hijabs. Many Muslim women have expressed rights to wear a hijab even though they are afraid.

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