Home/ News / World/  Burqa ban: This country will fine 83,000 for violation

In an effort to enact a "burqa ban", the Swiss government has submitted a draft law to the parliament that would impose fines of up to $1,000 (around 83,000) on those who disobey a countrywide ban on facial coverings. Although 51.2% of voters approved of the proposed ban, it was criticised at the time for being Islamophobic and misogynistic.

The right-wing Swiss People's Party members who make up the Egerkinger Komitee, which claims to organise "resistance against the claims to power of political Islam in Switzerland", are behind the push to outlaw face coverings.

Facial coverings were described as a sign of political Islam's extremeness by those who supported the ban. Muslim organisations criticised the vote as racist and promised legal actions. The majority of Switzerland's 5% Muslim population has origins in Turkey, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

The draft law, which was sent on October 12, follows a 2021 referendum on banning face coverings. The cabinet, following deliberations, softened previous demands to include the prohibition in the criminal code and impose fines of up to $10,000 on offenders. (more than 8 lakh).

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Local MPs, the media and activists refer to the measure as the "burqa ban" even though the cabinet's proposed sanctions did not directly mention Islam and also aimed to stop violent street protesters from donning masks. To maintain peace and safety in the community, face coverings are prohibited, according to a formal statement, whereas punishment is not the main focus.

The draft also contained a number of legal exceptions. Aircraft, diplomatic locations and places of religion could all be exempt from the prohibition. Health, safety, climatic and regional customs-related coverages would continue to be in effect. It would not apply to advertisements or artistic acts.

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Except Switzerland, facial coverings are prohibited in France, which outlawed the wearing of a full-face veil in public. Facial coverings are completely or partially prohibited in Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. As per Amnesty International, the prohibition on wearing a face veil is a "dangerous policy" that infringes on women's rights, especially their right to freedom of speech and religion.

(With agency inputs)

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 14 Oct 2022, 11:54 AM IST
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