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Switzerland said no to burqa and niqab

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According to the results of the vote, held on Sunday, Swiss citizens supported the initiative to ban the wearing of the burqa and niqab in public places. In favor of this decision, 51.2 percent of the votes were cast. Monetary fines will also be imposed on demonstrators and hooligans hiding their faces. Similar bans have already been introduced in many European countries. The opinions of the observers were polarized.

Rebuffing totalitarian ideology

The Neue Zurcher Zeitung welcomes the innovation as it is directed against Islamism:

“As opponents of the initiative to ban the burqa stated, this is just a symbolic policy. Yes, it is. It aims to ban the symbol of a misanthropic, totalitarian ideology. ... When we say no to wearing a burqa, we do not mean Islam, but Islamism. It is naive to believe that political Islam does not manifest itself in Switzerland in any way. And in our country, mosques are being built with money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Turkey. And in our country, parallel communities are being formed that exist exclusively in their own closed environment. In this sense, the initiative to ban the burqa will not change anything. However, she instructs the authorities to watch the situation more closely.“

We don't know you — and we don't want to know

This ban will do little for women, says Der Spiegel:

“In France, such bans have led to the fact that the relevant groups of the population went into even deeper isolation — and radicalized. In order to truly pursue policies for the benefit of women migrants and to help the oppressed, one has to approach from the other end. Compulsory German courses, educational programs that explain to women their political and social rights, help them get a new profession, legal support, and leisure activities can be useful here. ... On Sunday in Switzerland, those who want to talk about Muslims — but not with them, won. This means that ignorance has won.“

Fear has big eyes

This decision shows that the Swiss authorities have failed, says The Irish Times:

“Banning the veil unites a broad coalition of political forces, from right-wing nationalists and Islamophobes to militant secular leftists. ... This initiative is supported by a number of feminists who see the veil as a tool to suppress women. ... The fact that such an unholy alliance prevailed in a liberal society is evidence of society's disappointment with yet another failure of political leadership. Driven by fear of failure to right-wing populists, political leaders have failed to defend the very essence of pluralism, which requires us to embrace cross-cultural differences without trying to cram others into the narrow framework of our own ideas.“

True Democratic Debate

Le Temps, by contrast, welcomes the process that ultimately led to the current ban:

“Regardless of what anyone says about this initiative, we can only welcome that this time, unlike the noisy 2009 campaign [which ended with the ban on the construction of minarets], the current discussion was held with dignity and respect — despite fears that everything might come out of under control. It is even more gratifying that a number of leading representatives of the Muslim community, who at that time remained silent, today participated in the discussion — both those who supported the initiative and those who were against it. They have shown that they are ready to speak up and integrate. And this is a much greater achievement and a much greater lesson of this campaign than the ban itself as such, which will affect at most thirty people.“

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