Full-face coverings such as niqabs and burqas are banned in canton St. Gallen in Switzerland. While Swiss voters approved a burqa ban, Switzerland’s largest Islamic organisation, the Islamic Central Council, recommended women continue to cover their faces.
Burqa seems weird in Switzerland, and in June, local residents have launched a grassroots campaign for a nationwide ban on all kind of the facial coverings. The Swiss cabinet said individual cantons should decide on the matter. But it will nevertheless go to a nationwide vote after activists last year collected more than the required 100,000 signatures to trigger a referendum.
Two-thirds of Switzerland’s 8.5 million residents identify as Christians, but its Muslim population has risen to 5 percent, largely because of immigrants from former Yugoslavia.
The direct democracy is working well in Switzerland, After canton Ticino, the authorities of the north-east canton St. Gallen have protected the rights of the voters. The Italian-speaking Ticino’s residents are happy with a similar ban. According to Swiss, burqa or other full-cover veil symbolises discrimination against women and should be outlawed. Another reason to ban such a clothing, local people feel it risks public safety if people cannot be visually identified.
All kind of the facial coverings has already been forbidden in France and Denmark.