Switzerland Agrees to Ban Banning Face Covering in Public Places: NPR

A poster in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the text “Stop Extremism!” On Sunday, the Swiss adopted a new ban on covering their faces in public by a small majority – 51.2%.

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

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Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

A poster in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the text “Stop Extremism!” On Sunday, the Swiss adopted a new ban on covering their faces in public by a small majority – 51.2%.

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

On Sunday, Swiss voters approved a proposal to ban hiding the face in public places. The niqab and burqa, which is worn by nearly everyone even among the country’s Muslims, will be banned outside religious institutions. The new law does not apply to face masks for health reasons.

Switzerland joins a number of European countries that have banned face masks, including in Francea DenmarkAnd the Netherlands and Austria.

The new legislation was put to the vote through a popular initiative launched by the country’s right-wing Egerkingen Committee, the same group that led the charge of banning minarets more than a decade ago, and the Swiss broadcaster Mentioned. In 2017, the group submitted more than 100,000 signatures to the government and demanded that the issue be put to a national vote.

The Swiss government opposed the national initiative, calling it excessive, and argued that such a ban should be decided upon by certain regions, two of which already had a “jar ban”.

The ban has just won a majority, with 51.2% of the Swiss population voting in favor. Only six of the country’s cantons, like the states, voted against the proposal, according to SBC.

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