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GA Bill Could Ban Muslims From Covering Face In Public

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A Georgia bill originally written to prevent Ku Klux Klan members from wearing hoods could be expanded to include Muslim women from covering their faces.

Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer of Georgia authored House Bill 3, which bars women from wearing a face covering while taking a driver's license photo, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But the law could also prevent women from wearing a face covering on any public property.

The law, which was originally passed in 1951, states, “[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 the 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.”

Spencer hopes to add the following line: “For the purposes of this subsection, the phrase ‘upon any public way or property’ includes but is not limited to operating a motor vehicle upon any public street, road , or highway.”

“The bill is a bad solution to a nonexistent problem,” Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Georgia, told The Huffington Post. “[These Muslim women] are not endangering themselves or anyone else. 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.”

The anti-mask law most recently made headlines after counter-protesters confronted a white supremacist rally at Stone Mountain, Georgia in April.

Although the law was intended to prevent KKK members from wearing masks while committing crimes, it was the counter-protesters in Guy Fawkes masks who police arrested.

The masks were “intimidating,” said John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Stone Mountain Park Police, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sources: Huffington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2)/ Photo Credit: Michael Huniewicz/Flickr

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