Swiss voters approved a proposition Sunday banning facial coverings in public. Niqabs and burqas, worn by almost no one even among the country’s Muslim population, will be banned outside of religious institutions. The new law doesn’t apply to facial coverings for health reasons.
Switzerland will join several European countries that have implemented a ban on facial coverings, including France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria.
The new legislation was brought to the ballot through a people’s initiative launched by the nation’s right-wing Egerkingen Committee, the same group that led the charge to ban minarets over a decade ago, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation reported. In 2017, the group presented over 100,000 signatures to the government and demanded the issue be brought to a national vote.
The Swiss government opposed the nationwide initiative as excessive and argued such bans should be decided by individual regions, two of which already have a “burqa ban” in place.