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France's Kenza Drider , wearing a niqab, drives a car in Avignon, southern France, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010. A ban on the burqa-style veil, to be voted on Tuesday in the Senate, would affect only a tiny minority of Muslim women _ estimated at less than 2,000 _ making it far less controversial than France's 2004 ban on Muslim headscarves in classrooms, which proliferated in heavily immigrant neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)


Switzerland’s Parliament Passes Burqa Ban with Overwhelming Majority Vote

ISLAMABAD: Switzerland’s lower house of parliament, the Swiss National Council, has approved a final legislative vote in favor of a ban on face coverings, including burqas worn by certain Muslim women.

The legislation, originally endorsed by the upper house, garnered strong support from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, despite reservations voiced by centrists and Greens. This move comes in the wake of a nationwide referendum two years ago, where Swiss voters narrowly favored the ban on niqabs, which feature eye slits, along with burqas, ski masks, and bandannas occasionally worn by protesters. With the lower house’s approval, this ban has now become federal law, carrying potential fines of up to 1,000 francs (approximately $1,100) for violators.


The law prohibits the covering of the nose, mouth, and eyes in both public spaces and privately accessible buildings, with a few exceptions. It is worth noting that very few women in Switzerland wear full face coverings like burqas. These burqas more look like the attire that ladies in Afghanistan wear.

Notably, two Swiss cantons, Ticino in the south and St. Gallen in the north, had previously enacted similar laws. This national legislation aligns Switzerland with countries like Belgium and France, which have implemented comparable measures to address the issue of face coverings.

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