burqa

Swiss government rejects burqa ban.

An initiative to ban niqabs and burqas by Swiss People’s party, a right-wing political party, has been rejected by the Swiss upper parliament. The clothes in question are generally worn by Muslim women; it covers their full body and face. The debate over such coverings has gathered widespread cultural tensions in a few European regions. The vote by Council of State went 26 to 9 against the measure. Interestingly, Ticino, an Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, had pushed in a ban on wearing burqas in 2016. There were four abstentions. The Swiss lower house passed the draft bill by one vote previously.

This proposal was put forward by Walter Wobmann, an MP from the Swiss People's party. The MP initiated the proceedings to a ban from the beginning of March. The aim of the right-wing party is to collect a minimum of 100,000 signatures. If it does, then the issue can be taken to the referendum.

The Swiss senate went along with the recommendation of the commission set up specially to deal with this subject. The commission advised against a nationwide ban. It said that this was superfluous as only a few individuals in the whole of Switzerland actually wears the veil. Only five percent of the Swiss population is of the Islamic faith.

It should be kept in mind the defeat of the proposed constitutional amendment does not settle this issue. Wobmann claimed he has already collected 70,000 of the needed 100,000 signatures to compel the Swiss Government to hold a referendum. A number of other European nations have already enforced the ban on the burqa. First off the block was France in April 2011. Belgium, Austria, and Bulgaria followed suit. In Holland, the senate is slated to give its approval to a proposed law on this matter.

Germany may soon join the list of countries who have banned outright face coverings. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, said the complete veil should be banned wherever it was legally possible. She said German culture dictates that women must show their faces.

In Switzerland, the far right is confident about getting its wishes made into law. Anian Liebrand, a member of the Swiss People's party and its former youth leader said popular support is with them. He said the Swiss people will provide consent to this initiative, saying he is optimistic as a lot of surveys have shown results confirming his views.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter