And the latest country to ban the niqab and burqa is… Bulgaria!
The law states that clothing which obscures or covers the face cannot be worn in government offices, schools, cultural institutions, and public places of recreation. (AFP/File)
Bulgaria is set to ban niqabs and burqas in a crackdown on women wearing face veils in public places.
After France, Latvia and Netherlands - now Bulgaria is all set to ban wearing of veils in public.
According to reports, a nationalist political party in the Balkan nation has tabled a new bill in the parliament, banning niqabs and burqas in the country - a traditional veil worn mostly by Muslim women.
About 12 per cent of Bulgaria's 7.2 million population are Muslim, most of whom belong to a centuries-old community of ethnic Turks, which does not generally wear full-face veils.
The bill was backed by 108 MPs, with just eight voting against it and no abstentions, at its first reading.
Bulgaria's second-largest opposition party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), attempted to postpone the reading by suggesting the measures be covered in counter-terrorism legislation instead, but the calls were rejected.
If passed, Bulgaria will join fellow European countries Latvia, France and the Netherlands in prohibiting clothing that covers the face.
In 2010 France banned full-face veils, and in May, the Netherlands introduced a partial ban on wearing a veil in schools, hospitals and on public transport.
The law states that clothing which obscures or covers the face cannot be worn in government offices, schools, cultural institutions, and public places of recreation.
One lawmaker from the MRF part, told the Sofia Globe the bill had "no value" because the way it was drafted meant it could even apply to beekeepers!
Violators could be fined 200 leva (Dh424) for the first and second offences, and further offences will receive a 1,500 leva (Dh3179) fine and deprivation of social benefits.
It is noteworthy that earlier this year, Latvia banned women from wearing the full-face veil in public, despite only three people being known to wear them in the entire country.
Curated by Yousuf Saifuddin Kapadia