Switzerland Set To Ban The Burqa And Niqab In Public Places

A slim majority of people in Switzerland have voted in favour of banning face coverings like a burqa in public places.

A referendum was held over the weekend and 51.2 per cent of people agreed to getting rid of coverings that obstructed a person’s identity.

Switzerland will now join European countries like France, Belgium and Austria in banning burqas and niqabs.

Under the referendum, face coverings will be allowed inside places of worship and for ‘native customs’, according to the Guardian, however they won’t be permitted outside.

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Switzerland Set To Ban The Burqa And Niqab In Public Places

Face masks will also still be allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Swiss government deferred the decision to a referendum because it argued it wasn’t in a place to dictate how people should dress.

Swiss Muslims have been devastated by the decision and have argued that the referendum result reveals the country’s Islamophobic underbelly.

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Sanija Ameti told the BBC: “So many Muslims in Switzerland will feel insulted and not part of this society, and pushed into a corner where they don’t belong. We don’t look like these women in the pictures, we just don’t.”

Ines Al Shikh told the Guardian: “This is clearly an attack against the Muslim community in Switzerland. What is aimed here is to stigmatise and marginalise Muslims even more.”

Switzerland Set To Ban The Burqa And Niqab In Public Places

The Swiss Federation of Islamic Umbrella Organisations added in a statement: “This symbolic policy is directed against female and male Muslims. But it also damages the whole of Switzerland, which has undermined its own values by accepting the initiative.”

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Switzerland Set To Ban The Burqa And Niqab In Public Places
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Opponents in larger cities also warned the face covering ban would hit the economy down the track as it would deter people from Arab countries from visiting.

The Yes campaign was criticised for focusing primarily on Islamic face coverings, with supporter and SVP member Walter Wobmann calling burqas and niqabs ‘a symbol for this extreme, political Islam’.

They added that the way the referendum question was framed was purely about face coverings and never mentioned burqa or niqab.

The supporters of the ban also tried to claim it will stop violent street protestors and football hooligans as they won’t be permitted to don a covering.

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