Swiss residents voted in a referendum to ban the complete covering of the face, including the Islamic burqa and niqab, in public places.
This is reported by Swiss Info.
The ban was supported by 51.2% of voters, against 48.8% of Swiss citizens who came to the referendum. The turnout was 51.4%.
Exceptions to the law include covering the face for safety, climate, and health reasons-meaning that protective masks worn against Covid-19 are acceptable. Niqabs and burqas will still be allowed in places of worship.
Final results on Sunday showed that only six of the country’s 26 cantons rejected the initiative, which was initiated by the far-right “Jagerkinger Committee” — the same group that was behind the vote to ban the construction of minarets in 2009.
The ban will also affect football fans, as well as left-wing and right-wing radicals who like to hide their faces during demonstrations. The main argument of the supporters of the initiative on the ban on hiding face is that men and women should have equal rights, and the wearing of a veil or niqab restricts these rights.
Many also believe that banning the wearing of clothing items that hide the face will strengthen security, helping to counteract persons who violate public order. The argument of the fight against terrorism also plays a role.
Opponents say that the ban, in particular, the wearing of the niqab will deprive many Muslim women of the right and opportunity to leave the house and participate in public life.