Switzerland voted in a referendum on Sunday to ban “full face coverage” in public places. According to the survey, a slim majority of 51% supported the move. Here is a brief reference of what is called. “Burqa ban”.
What is a prohibition?
The initiative’s text does not specifically highlight Muslim veils, saying only that “no one should cover their faces in public or in publicly accessible areas or in areas where services are normally available to all”.
However, the proposed ban is primarily aimed at Muslim minority women living in Switzerland who wear the niqab (veil on the underside of their face), burqa (which covers the body and face) and other clothing that covers the face.
Meanwhile Muslims make up about 5.2% of Switzerland’s 8.6 million. Most of the Muslims in Switzerland come from Bosnia, Kosovo and Turkey.
Who supports the ‘Burqa Ban’?
The move was led by the Egerkinger Komitee, an activist group made up of right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) politicians whose motto is “Resistance to the claim to political power of Islam in Switzerland“.
Meanwhile, SVP member Jean-Luc Addor said earlier this year that “luckily” not many women in Switzerland wear the burqa.
Woman wearing burqa
According to him, “if the problem happen, we will take care of it before it gets out of control.”
Furthermore, Addor confirmed by his colleague Walter Wobmann, who said that “it is our tradition in Switzerland to show your face”. As it is “a sign of our fundamental freedom”.
Evidently the party’s main arguments were that “people are free to show their faces”. Also that “the burqa and niqab are no ordinary clothes” because they are supposed to symbolize the oppression of a more just sex. One of the campaign posters features a caricatured image of woman wearing the niqab with the words “Stop Islamic Radicalism”.
Who is against the ban?
Government and parliamentary officials oppose the “burqa ban”, whose counter-proposal requires people to show their faces to the authorities. This is necessary, among other things, for identification with respect to border surveillance.
The proposal is expected to be triggered automatically if the “burqa ban” is rejected during Sunday’s referendum.
A woman in a veil
The government is supported by a number of feminist organizations, including Ines El-Shikh, spokesperson for the feminist Muslim women’s group Purple Headscarves, who asserted that “this text [of the ‘burqa ban’] is not only useless, but also racist and sexist.’
“In 2021, it is unacceptable for the Swiss constitution to have articles prohibiting women from wearing what they want. The burqa ban does not apply to women, but to them. Whether we wear miniskirts, burqas or topless,” We wish we could choose ourselves”, Ines El-Shikh told media.
Posters opposing the ban read “No to absurd, useless and Islamophobic anti-burqa laws“.
The first result shows a victory for supporters of the ban.
The polling station closes at 11am GMT, followed by public television SSR and gfs.bern responders who predict 51% of voters will vote for “burqa ban”. Most voters cast their votes before the actual referendum.
To be able to sail, the move had to be supported by a majority of voters across the country and a majority of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.
When the ban was passing, the country’s constitution was reforming and the cantons were tasked with implementing the constitution.
Previous surveys have shown that at least 60% of those questioned supported the ban. While a final poll by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation two weeks before the vote showed that only 49% approved of the initiative.
Which countries have ‘Burqa Ban’ laws?
As a new ban chosen by a majority, the country now join with several countries that have enacted relevant laws. These countries including Netherlands, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Denmark.