Al Jazeera, October 13, 2022
The Swiss government has sent a draft law to parliament, seeking to fine people who violate a national ban on face coverings up to 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,000).
The draft law, which was sent on Wednesday, follows last year’s referendum on banning face coverings. The proposed ban, also known as the “burqa ban”, was supported by 51.2 percent of voters, but was criticised at the time as Islamophobic and sexist.
After consultations, the cabinet watered down calls to anchor the ban in the criminal code and fine offenders up to 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000).
The initiative to ban facial coverings was launched by the Egerkinger Komitee, a group including politicians of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, which says it organises “resistance against the claims to power of political Islam in Switzerland”.
The bill does not name burqas or niqabs, but prohibits people from concealing their faces in public spaces like public transportation, restaurants or walking in the street, specifying that the eyes, nose and mouth must be visible.
Muslims make up 5 percent of the Swiss population of 8.6 million people, most with roots in Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.