‘We don’t want to be France’: Switzerland votes to ban burqa

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Woman wearing a burqa in Istanbul, Turkey. (AP / Lefteris Pitarakis)

“France, a country which belongs to the same civilization as us, has practically lost control of the situation. We don’t want to get to that,” said MP Jean-Luc Addor.

Voters in Switzerland passed a so-called “burqa ban,” which forbids facial coverings from being worn in public spaces, on Sunday.

According to Swiss media, the measure is expected to pass with 52 percent of voters supporting.

With the majority of the results already tallied up and only a small number of votes left to be counted, it appears that a ban on covering one’s face, save for medical, climate, or security reasons, will soon be the law in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s direct democracy style of government means that citizens often vote by mail on referendums, which then become law.

The popular support for the bill comes in direct contrast to the attitude of Swiss legislators, who had previously voted against such bans.

Saida Keller-Messahli, founder of Forum for a Progressive Islam, told Swiss news site SWI that she was pleased with the results. She called the ban the “rejection of a totalitarian ideology which has no place in a democracy.”

Swiss Parliamentarian Jean-Luc Addor, who supported the ban, said it was necessary in order to prevent societal Islamization.

“France, a country which belongs to the same civilization as us, has practically lost control of the situation. We don’t want to get to that,” he told SWI.

The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) said in a statement that the result was “a big disappointment for all Muslims who were born in and grew up in Switzerland.”

The organization’s secretary general Ferah Ulucay said the vote “succeeded in anchoring in the constitution a widespread islamophobia in Switzerland.”

Although Switzerland has a relatively small Muslim population – an estimated 420,000 people out of nearly 9 million people – the Alpine nation has consistently made headlines with its steadfast refusal to accommodate Islamic cultural values.

In 2018, the city of Lausanne turned down a Muslim couple’s citizenship application after they refused to shake hands with committee members of the opposite sex.

In 2009, Swiss voters approved a measure banning the construction of minarets.

(World Israel News).

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