With a narrow majority: Switzerland votes for a ban on concealment

Status: 07.03.2021 6:54 p.m.

In Switzerland there will be a nationwide ban on concealment in public spaces. 51.2 percent of the electorate voted in favor of an association critical of Islam.

Dietrich Karl Mäurer

Dietrich Karl Mäurer
ARD studio Zurich

By Dietrich Karl Mäurer, ARD studio Zurich

Just like here in a school in Lausanne, the helpers behaved everywhere during the ballot counting – all wore a pandemic-friendly mask. Such coverings should continue to be allowed in Switzerland – as well as motorcycle helmets, scarves pulled over the face on cold days or masks during carnival parades, but otherwise face should be shown in public spaces. The initiators of the referendum argued that this was tradition and promoted the fight against crime and equal rights for women.

Despite the tight result, Mike Egger from the national-conservative Swiss People’s Party was delighted. On Swiss radio SRF he said: “We have given a clear signal that we do not want any oppression or discrimination against women in this country. And we have also given a clear signal against masked anchors who are in the circle of anonymity Let the riots get carried away. ”

The ban also applies to sports fans and demonstrators

In doing so, he points out that the ban on veiling, which is now enshrined in the Swiss constitution, should apply to masked sports fans and demonstrators as well as to religious veils such as the burqa or nikab. The fact that there are hardly any fully veiled women in Switzerland is not an argument against the regulation, says Mike Egger from SVP: “It’s not about the number of convictions when you introduce a law, but about protection, a preventive one The effect that such a law has with it. That is why a yes today is a clear sign, also to the outside world, of the values ​​we want in Switzerland and what not.

With the now defeated opponents of a ban on concealment, one is disappointed, if probably not really surprised. Andrea Caroni of the liberal FDP, who had headed a committee “No to state dress codes”, said on Swiss radio: “There will be no positive consequences. It was clear from the start that this would not be of any use to women or to safety Lande, but just a few innocent – I say it exaggerated – religious freaks a bit bullied. ”

Women’s rights as a justification

The referendum went back to the Egerking Committee, which is close to the Swiss People’s Party and had already achieved a ban on the construction of new minarets in Switzerland in 2009. The Islam-critical association had repeatedly referred to the veiling as a symbol of the oppression of women and presented a ban as a step towards equality. This is where the Social Democratic MP and prohibition opponent Tamara Funiciello comes in in her statement: “The initiators used the word ‘women’s rights’ very often during the voting campaign. I will hold them responsible.”

The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland, which is considered fundamentalist, sees the vote as anchoring the prevailing Islamophobia in the constitution. Nikab wearers want to support and accept fines as long as the resources lasted.

The Swiss Tourism Association regrets the result as an additional difficulty for the industry, which is already suffering from the corona pandemic. The ban on veiling could keep visitors away from Arab countries

51.2% – Switzerland just voted in favor of the ban on veiling

Karl Dietrich Mäurer, ARD Zurich, March 7, 2021 7:12 p.m.

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