Switzerland Approves Ban On Face Coverings In Public

A picture taken on February 4, 2021 in Lausanne shows an electoral poster in favor of a "burqa ban" initiative reading in French: "Stop extremism!" ahead of a nationwide vote by Swiss citizen on whether they want to ban face coverings in public spaces or not. - The vote will take place on on March 7, 2021, as part of the country's famous direct democratic system. A clear majority of Swiss voters favour introducing a nationwide prohibition against wearing face-covering garments in public spaces, known as a "burqa ban", a poll showed last month. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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