Saturday, October 12, 2013

Switzerland: Italian-Speaking Ticino Votes for Forbidding Facial Veils By Any Group

According to http://www.thelocal.ch, the results from a referendum in the southern canton of Ticino showed that 65% of the electorate backed a proposal to forbid the covering of faces in public areas by any group.
   
Echoing similar 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."


Yet, in a clear message 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."
   
COMMENT: 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.
  
Leading human rights group Amnesty International also condemned the vote.
 
With 350,000 people, Ticino is home to most Italian-speakers in Switzerland, a nation of eight million.
   
There are some 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, mainly for North Africa and the Balkans.