Despite warnings of Islamophobia and tourism losses, the Swiss voted in favor of a ban on the veil

Eine Frau in Vollverschleierung guckt in die Kamera in St. Gallen.  (AFP)

Despite warnings against Islamophobia and tourism losses, the Swiss have narrowly voted to ban public spaces. As of the final result, 51.2 percent voted yes and 48.8 percent voted on Sunday. Of the 26 cantonments, 20 were in favor of the popular colloquial initiative called the “burqa ban” and six were against it. This means that the ban should be included in the constitution.

The measure aims to ban face cover in restaurants, sports stadiums, in local public transport or while walking on the road. Exceptions should be made for religious sites or if cover is necessary for safety or health reasons. Officers have two years to draft the relevant legislation. With a yes vote, Switzerland joins countries such as France, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, and Denmark, which are already banned in full.

Similar initiator as ban on minarets in 2009

The vote was mainly aimed at the so-called Nikabs and Burkas. However, it is not explicitly mentioned. The referendum was presented and presented by the “Egerkinger Committee”, which had already banned the construction of new minarets in 2009. The right-wing populist SVP supported the project. Managing director Anion Lybrand is a member of the party. The poll says for a yes, the slogan “Stop Radical Islam!” Was advertised.

Convictions cite three arguments: Facial concealment is in conflict with living together in an independent society, it is also an expression of oppression of women by an extreme Islam, and, ultimately, acts to counter the crime of prohibition. Does. The Catholic news agency has put arguments together and against it.

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“Absurd”, “brilliant”, “Islamophobic”

The Swiss government was against the argument that it could harm tourism. Most Muslims who wear the veil fully with a viewing window are tourists from the wealthy Gulf states. Barbara GCI, director of the Swiss Tourism Association, said “Burn newspaper“Switzerland’s image as a friendly and open host will probably suffer. The experience from Ticino, where there has been a” burqa ban “since 2016, is likely to worsen even” liberal Muslims “.

The counter-campaign accused the committee of only creating a mood against Muslims. He described the initiative as absurd, brilliant and Islamophobic. Number of women wearing Niqabits in SwitzerlandSuch a dress is estimated to have a maximum of 30 on a regular basis. The proportion of Muslims in the population was in 2018. At 5.3 percent.

Sociologist: Mostly they converge

French sociologist Agnes de Feo has been working on the subject for 15 years. According to him, women in Europe who often cover themselves only converted to Islam as teenagers or adults. As a rule, they are not suppressed, but are very sharp and want to protest against the prevailing fashion and beauty, He told “NZZ”.

Observers of the popular initiative also positioned themselves in Germany. Feminist Alice Schwarzer Advertisement in “Nue Zuchar Zeitung” for “yes” for the ban. The women’s curtain is the “flag of political Islam”, he said. On the other hand, the academician thinks Melteam kulakatan In the “republic”, a breakthrough would only promote anti-Muslim racism.

Islamic scholars: “Neither the burqa nor the mask defined in Islamic theology”

Islamic scholar Reinhard Schultz explained the portal “Story“Widespread support for the ban initiative is also related to the fact that the rejection of covering a face in a public space is not only motivated by a right-wing conservative, populist attitude. It may also be a concern for liberals and leftists. However, it What makes him angry, however, is that facial nerves are treated symbolically and politically and think through a ban to contribute to the fight against misbehavior and behavior. The University of Bern professor said Neither Burqa nor Nikab. Islamic theology from the Afghan-Pakistani region and the Arabian Peninsula are defined in local traditions.

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The message was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk on March 9, 2021.

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