The Swiss government has sent a draft law to parliament, to impose a fine of 1000 swiss francs on women who break the ‘burqa-ban and cover face.
The draft law is a follow up of last year’s referendum on imposing a ban on covering face/wearing burqa. The proposed ban, known as the “burqa ban”, was supported by 51.2% of voters. It was also criticised as Islamophobic and sexist policy.
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 ban on covering faces aims to ensure public safety and order. Punishment is not the priority,” it said in a statement.
The initiative to ban facial coverings was introduced by the Egerkinger Komitee, a group including politicians of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party. The group 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.