While the numbers of Muslim crimes continue to upswing, more Western Countries have implemented a new law to prevent further violence. Recently, Switzerland has moved a step closer to imposing a nationwide burqa ban.
This is against the women who wear burqas as part of the country’s small minority because the country is afraid that people will be using these religious customs in order to inflict terror or crime on innocent citizens of Switzerland.
A ban on the Islamic veils was passed in the lower house of Swiss parliament on September 27 by a tight vote of 88 to 87. Since it passed in that part of the government, it now has to go to the higher chambers of the government in order to actually be enacted into law. Many people expect that it will be a controversial issue and will probably be put to a national vote.
Walter Wobmann, an SVP politician leading the campaign, claimed the law would “maintain public order and respect for the dignity of women”.
Known for his anti-immigration stance, he has previously said it was “unacceptable” for women to wear headscarves in passport photos and vowed to “stop further ‘Islamization’ in Switzerland” while supporting the 2009 ban on mosque minarets.
Writing in support of the “Yes to veil ban” campaign, Wobmann claimed veils violate Swiss values and said the law would also prevent vandals and criminals concealing their identity.
“Veils are an attack on integration in a free society,” he continued. “The ban on religiously motivated coverings in public is proportionate and violates neither freedom of religion nor expression. It does not constitute discrimination.”
The proposed law would see paragraphs written into Switzerland’s federal constitution against the “concealing of one’s face” in public places, other than religious sites, with exceptions for health and safety, the climate and unspecified local customs.
In order to speed up this ban, supporters need to get 100,000 signatures to force a referendum. According to an August poll, a shocking majority of 71 percent of Swiss citizens support the face veil ban.
Because it is a hot-button issue, the Swiss parliament is expected to stall on it. This will leave the decision to a public vote.
Switzerland has about 8.3 million people in the country and only 5 percent of those are Muslim with few actually wear burqas.
Due to recent Muslim immigrants and refugees who have struggled to integrate into socially liberal European society, the controversy of the proposal grows.
Muslim boys who refused to shake female teachers’ hands were recently threatened with fines of 5,000 Swiss francs (£4,000), while two young girls who did not take part in swimming lessons with boys were denied citizenship in June and a Muslim woman left her job as a supply teacher after being told she must shake hands with male colleagues.
Switzerland is one of the several European countries currently debating similar issues, with burkini bans brought in by some French Riviera resorts provoking outrage.
France and Belgium enforce nationwide bans on full-face veils, while Germany and the Netherlands are considering similar laws. Regions of Italy, Spain, Russia, and Switzerland also regulate religious attire.