The German state of Bavaria has announced plans to ban the full-face veil in government workplaces, schools, universities and while driving.
"Communication happens not only via language but also looks, facial expressions and gestures," said state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann.
But critics say the ban will have little practical impact in a state with only a small number of Muslims.
They say the regional government is eyeing upcoming federal elections.
The state's ruling conservatives, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are wary of a challenge from the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the polls in seven months' time.
The draft law introduced on Tuesday evening would see the niqab (face-covering veil) and burka (face and body veil) banned in public institutions as well as places such as when dealing with police and in polling stations where identity is key. [BBC] Read more