A restaurant owner in Germany has provoked outrage after reportedly ordering a Muslim woman wearing a niqab to leave the premises.
Christian Schulz, manager of a Seekrug restaurant in Bielefeld, western Germany, reportedly asked the woman to remove the full-face veil as she sat in the busy beer garden during an annual light festival.
The woman is said to have refused, at which point Mr Schulz reportedly expelled her from the restaurant.
The restaurant manager was subsequently subject to a barrage of criticism on the restaurant’s Facebook page, which he has since deleted.
After removing the comments, Schulz wrote a public post on the page saying: “I just deleted two posts with almost 800 comments.
“This is growing over my head. I would have never made it public. However, I have to finish my business before the negative ratings shoot up.
“Thank you for your solidarity. Now we want to do our job again and give our nice guests a good service.”
In contrast to the previous comments, his post was flooded with remarks from people showing overwhelming support and solidarity for his earlier actions.
One man, Thomas Reinhardt, wrote: “Right decision. You don’t know who’s under the hood. Woman? Man? Gunman?
“At home, people can do what they want. But when you’re in a different country you have to inform yourself about how things are and stick to it.”
Another commenter, Ingo Stromberg, wrote: “It’s very simple. Germany has its rules here as do other countries.
“As a German when I visit a mosque I take off my shoes and I respect it. The host thus did the right thing.”
Schulz had said he ordered the woman to leave because of fears the full-face veil made other guests uncomfortable during a busy event.
He told German newspaper the Rheinische Post: “In times like these such a request isn’t unreasonable at such a big event.”
He added that the restaurant employed people from a range of backgrounds, saying: “We employ people from around the world, from Ghana, Turkey, Egypt, Ukraine, Poland, Pakistan, Portugal.”
Since the incident, Mr Schulz changed the profile picture on the page to a photo of him with a Ghanaian chef who works in the premises.
The incident comes less than a month after a Muslim student was forbidden from wearing her full niqab in classes by a German court in one of the first rulings of its kind.
Laws around wearing the niqab or burqa in public in Germany have become a widely debated topic after two terror attacks were carried out by people linked to ISIS in July.
There is no national law in Germany that restricts the wearing of the niqab, which covers all facial features except the eyes, but German states have the power to change their laws locally.