As Swiss voters prepare for March 7 referendum on full face/niqab ban, the government urged people to reject the proposal, saying the move would hurt tourism.
“Very few people in Switzerland wear a full facial covering,” the government said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
“A nationwide ban would undermine the sovereignty of the cantons, damage tourism and be unhelpful for certain groups of women,” it said.
The government added that women who wear full facial coverings are tourists and only spend a brief time in the country, describing the suggested ban as a bad idea.
The canton of St Gallen in northeastern Switzerland voted in favor of banning the burqa in public in a referendum in September 2018.
Under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy. Therefore, any proposal to change the constitution goes to a popular vote if supporters raise more than 100,000 signatures.
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In 2009 Swiss voters backed a proposal to ban the construction of new minarets.
Two-thirds of Switzerland’s 8.5 million residents identify as Christians. But its Muslim population has risen to 5%, largely because of Balkans Muslim immigrants.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not just a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is free to cover or show her face or hands.
Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to cover their faces.