Quantcast
Latest Stories

Swiss region bans full-face Muslim veil


AP FILE PHOTO

GENEVA – Voters in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region Sunday slapped a ban on wearing full-face veils, a move condemned by the country’s Muslim community and Amnesty International.

Results from a referendum in the southern canton of Ticino showed that 65 percent of the electorate backed a proposal to forbid the covering of faces in public areas by any group.

Echoing bans in France and Belgium, the measure does not single out Muslims directly.

It states that “no-one may mask or hide their face on the public highway, nor in places open to the public, except places of worship, nor those offering a public service”.

But in a clear nod to the Islamic tradition of veils for women, it adds that “no-one may require another person to cover their face for reasons of gender”.

The measure was the brainchild of right-wing Ticino populist party “Il Guastafeste” – whose kingpin Giorgio Ghiringhelli makes no secret of his criticism of Islam.

“This is an historic vote for Ticino,” Ghiringhelli told Switzerland’s Italian-language broadcaster RSI.

“And not just for Ticino, but also for Switzerland and abroad, where the Ticino example could spread.”

It is the first time that any of Switzerland’s 26 cantons— the equivalent of US states – has imposed such a ban.

It will be anchored in Ticino’s constitution, making it tough to overturn, and local lawmakers will now have to craft legislation to implement it and impose penalties on those who fail to respect it.

Reacting to Sunday’s results, Switzerland’s Central Islamic Council slammed the vote as “yet another loud expression of social Islamophobia”.

“We in the Council see this as part of a string of attempts to make life increasingly difficult for Muslims in Switzerland and to ban symbols of Islam from the public arena,” it said in a statement.

“It restricts the fundamental constitutional rights of Muslim women without any pressing need or national legal basis.”

Leading human rights group Amnesty International also condemned the vote.

“Fear, and the creation of a problem where there isn’t one, have beaten reason and respect, to the detriment of the basic rights of the entire population,” the head of Amnesty’s Swiss section, Manon Schick, said in a statement.

She added that she hoped the Swiss parliament would speak out, given that the right to religious freedom is inscribed in the country’s constitution.

Referenda are the bedrock of Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, with citizen-campaigners able to force votes if they collect enough signatures from voters.

With 350,000 people, Ticino is one of the smallest cantons in Switzerland, a nation of eight million.

There are some 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, mainly for North Africa and the Balkans.

They represent five percent of the population of Switzerland— but an even lower proportion of just two percent in Ticino, the Central Islamic Council said.

“This result underlines a certain degree of disquiet in the population,” said Swiss President Ueli Maurer.

He underlined that it came in the wake of a nationwide referendum in November 2009 which led to a ban on the construction of new mosque minarets beyond the four already built in the country.

That referendum was pushed heavily by Maurer’s right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party, known for its anti-immigration stance.

Switzerland faced a barrage of international criticism following the 2009 vote.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Laws , Legislation , Muslim , Religion , Switzerland , Women




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement