Switzerland To Ban Muslim Women From Wearing Burqa In Public Places
Switzerland has voted to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa in public places, following in the footsteps of France, Belgium and Austria.
After years of discussion, referendum results for Sunday, March 7 show the vote has gained a narrow majority of 51%.
Under this proposal, people in Switzerland will no longer be permitted to cover their face completely while out in public, whether at a shopping mall or out in the open countryside. There will be some exceptions to this rule, including places of worship and ‘native customs’, such as carnivals.
Face coverings worn for health and safety purposes would also be exempt from this legislation, meaning face masks worn to protect against the spread of coronavirus will still be permitted, as per The Guardian.
Although the proposal doesn’t explicitly mention the burqa or niqab, it’s clear that the ban is aimed at the Islamic face veils worn by some women who follow the Muslim faith.
The Swiss People’s Party – a right-wing, populist party that is also the leading faction in parliament – has expressed strong support for this ban.
One of the Swiss People’s Party’s campaign posters bears the caricatured image of a scowling woman wearing a niqab, with the message ‘Stop Islamic Radicalism’.
Switzerland’s parliament as well as the seven-member executive council that constitutes the country’s federal government are reportedly opposed to the referendum proposal, arguing that full facial veils represent a ‘fringe phenomenon’.
These bodies have instead proposed an initiative whereby people would be forced to lift their facial coverings when confirming their identity to officials.
A recent study from the University of Lucerne place the number of women in Switzerland who wear niqabs at between 21 to 37. No evidence at all was found of women wearing the burqa.
Muslims make up an approximate 5% of the Swiss population. This adds up to around 390,000 out of of 8.6 million.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk