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Switzerland votes for anti-Muslim law

Zurich (SD) – The Swiss people have today voted in a referendum to ban the wearing of the headscarf in public places, affecting Muslim women in the country.

The proposal for the referendum was the far-right SPP’s idea, that party has long campaigned against the headscarf, with banners featuring Muslim women wearing veils.

“In Switzerland, our tradition is that you show your face. That is a sign of our basic freedoms,” Walter Wobmann, chairman of the referendum committee and a member of parliament for the Swiss People’s Party, had said before the vote.

A poster promoting "Yes to the burka ban" is seen in Oberdorf, in the canton of Nidwalden, Switzerland, 16 February 2021

However, only 51% of Swiss people voted that the headscarf should not be worn in public places, far less than the SPP had hoped for.

“Today’s decision opens old wounds, further expands the principle of legal inequality, and sends a clear signal of exclusion to the Muslim minority,” the Central Council of Muslims said in a statement, adding that it would challenge the decision in court.

Of the 400,000 Muslim women in Switzerland, only 30 are believed to be wearing the headscarf, according to a recent poll in that country.

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