Islam in Switzerland: Three-quarters of Swiss back a burka ban


burka Niqab and Hijab.png

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Source: Swiss Info

A nationwide ban on face-coverings – a de facto burka ban – would currently get the thumbs-up from 76% of Swiss voters, according to a poll in the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche. Around half also support the idea of Islam becoming an official Swiss religion.

Six out of ten respondents said they would definitely back the ban on face-coverings, put forward by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party. Some 16.5% said they were leaning towards a ban, 7% were leaning against it, 13% were definitely against it and 3% said they had yet to decide.

Almost 70% of respondents also wanted to see headscarves banned from schools.
But while the Swiss appear to be against burkas and niqabs, that is not the case for Islam as a religion: 48% backed official recognition of Islam as a state religion, like Christianity. This idea has been proposed by the leftwing Social Democratic Party, on condition that the Islamic communities adhere to a moderate form of Islam and organise themselves transparently.

Ticino is the only canton so far to introduce a total face-covering ban in public places. St Gallen has a less restrictive form of ban, but voters have rejected the idea in Zurich, Solothurn, Schwyz, Basel City and Glarus. Valais lawmakers recently outlawed a cantonal vote on the wearing of headgear on the grounds that it would violate the constitution.

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7 replies

  1. Is this not totally un-Swiss? All the burkas that I have seen in Switzerland were worn by tourists from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, shopping at the Zurich Bahnhofstrasse with their Gold and Platinum Credit Cards. Crazy to ban them to come! Why should they spend all their cash in London and Paris?

  2. So few Muslim women wear the Burqa in Europe that banning it is a waste of time

    Is Burqa THE most important issue the Tory MP could think of? It is just another way to justify attacks on migrants and other faiths. Burqa is an identity for a Muslim girl. Its unwanted for a Muslim woman or man what third person thinks of it, she will follow it for the WILL OF GOD “ALLAH”. Its protecting yourself from people who think woman is show piece or a specific thing for men enjoyment. Let anyone in the world has any problem with any of the Islamic activity (which he follows as per the Islamic law), will never harm anyone in this world.

    A British man came to Sheikh and asked:
    Why is it not permissible in Islam for women to shake hands with a man?
    The Sheikh said:
    Can you shake hands with Queen Elizabeth?
    British man said:
    Of course no, there are only certain people who can shake hands with Queen Elizabeth.
    Sheikh replied:
    Our women are queens and queens do not shake hands with strange men.
    Then the British man asked the Sheikh:
    Why do your girls cover up their body and hair?
    The Sheikh smiled and got two sweets, he opened the first one and kept the other one closed. He threw them both on the dusty floor and asked the British:
    If I ask you to take one of the sweets which one will you choose?
    The British replied:
    The covered one.
    The Sheikh said:
    That’s how we treat and see our woman.

    It used to be quite common to cover your face in the west – particularly for women.
    It was still done by brides not so long ago.

    It was also quite common by mourners.

    Banning the Burqa is not about emancipation of women – quite the opposite. It’s about a minority of westerners wanting to impose restrictions on a minority group because of leaders and media who seek to make political capital from it. Forcing women to not wear the Burqa is no different to the Taliban forcing women to wear it: it removes all control from the woman over her body, and is just part of the sexist narrative controlling women’s dress in public places.

    The UK’s National Secular Society came out against a burka ban, saying “the NSS opposes any attempt to legally ban the burka or niqab. We do so on two grounds of principle: a woman’s right to choose what she wears, i.e. her right to free expression; and her right to religious freedom.”

    Secularism is about respecting the right of people to follow any religion equally (or none), and of keeping religion out of politics and politics out of religion. Secularism is a check and balance against fundamentalist excess. Sensible people of faith are, or ought to be, secularists – unless they follow a brand of religion that wants to control everybody.

    The question is not about to veil or not to veil but for every woman to have the right to choose. This is question of basic human right including the right to freedom of religion and expression. French administrators have played into people’s fears and intolerance without adequately answering what great threat was posed by girls going to school in a headscarves? I do not believe in taking the rights of other people, and doing so shows the weakness of French democracy.

    Burqa is not locking women, it is a buffer line between protecting chastity and exposing. Being naked and drunk is acceptable but being covered and modest is inhuman. We live in an overly vain culture that is having a detrimental effect upon the mental health of young women. We live in an overly promiscuous society in which abortion rates keep going up along with sexually transmitted diseases. It is a reality that some women may choose to opt out completely of this culture because they find it burdensome and exhausting on the spirit. Modern society is failing women and this has social consequences, no wonder the majority of people turning to Islam in the West are women, and no wonder that many of the women who wear the Niqab are British born converts.

    The right to wear a Niqab is in-keeping with people’s freedom of expression which supposedly a modern day Britain seeks to preserve. The right to wear a Niqab is preserved under religious freedoms which supposedly a modern state should seek to uphold if it wants to remain in keeping with the UN charter. If a women believes it to be fore mostly an act of submission and dedication to their God, then I see no argument for a modern Britain to interfere. The niqab does not conflict with principles of feminism if it is a woman’s chosen form of dress. A significant aspect of feminism is giving a women the right to choose what she wishes to do with her own body. Many women who wear the niqab regard it as empowering, claiming that those they encounter, give greater value to their speech over their cosmetic appearance. That may seem strange to some people, but is it stranger than nudist beaches, pole dancing clubs or barely clad ladies staggering home in stilettoes after a night out on the tiles? Cultural conditioning and social constructions alone seem an unfair method of determining that which is ‘normal’.

    In the UK a women can walk around in a Bikini or a Burka/Niqab, which I think is great. That said if everyone started covering their faces I think the government might be tempted to bring in a law. But the amount of women that wear the Niqab is a tiny percentage.

    Some Muslim women might find western fashion trends “offensive” as well. Sadly the word “offensive” is used to much in our world. People need to grow up, its a very diverse planet made up of different cultures, different religions, different fashions, and different languages and so on.

    Plus courts do ask for veils to be removed for identity checks at courts, once an identity check has been carried out, the person can put the veil back on.

    I personally cant think of any good reason why it should be banned in either a school or a court.”
    A valid reason for the niqab not being allowed in court even after the wearer’s identity has been established is that it is important for people to be able to see the facial expressions of someone giving evidence.” People are not found guilty on the basis of their facial expressions. Plus humans can hide emotions and facial expressions regardless of whether their face is covered or not.”

    French president wants Muslim women to be topless like his wife who posed topless in fashion shows. He has no right to ban the Burqa because it is undemocratic and an unqualified attack on individual freedom. Burqa is not just a piece of cloth but a lot of ideological and cultural connotation to it. Women are just being exploited in the name of rights. Burqa protects women’s rights and treat each women like a princess. No one has the right to ban the freedom of choice in a secular and democratic country. The right to choice is a basic fundamental right the person should have.

    One Muslim woman, Caroline Chaiima, writing in, said she wore a veil: “Let those most closely concerned speak. I am a French woman born in France, with French parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and I am a Muslim. I wear the full veil and I feel like saying: So what? I am happy behind the veil, I protect myself from depraved stares. Neither my father, nor my brother, nor my husband forced the full veil upon me; it’s a personal choice.”

    Surely nobody should be telling women what they can and can’t wear. Face covering? Would that extend to my precious Ray Bans? Why not… apparently face-recognition cameras don’t work when confronted by the simple sun glasses. And what about bushy beards and moustaches? And what next… hoods, floppy wide-brimmed hats, anti-pollution masks, scarves? Where does this silliness end? Just for peoples information when security’s a concern the women can remove the veil and the few I’ve spoken to do.. On the grand scale of things how much of an issue is this really? Don’t be distracted. Around 0.1% of the UK’s Muslim population were a veil.

    Given the reaction of some parts of the media, one could be forgiven for assuming that Europe and the rest of the Western world has become besieged by Burqa-clad women. The “fear” is now so rife that empty bus seats in Norway recently were mistaken for a group of women wearing the Burqa.

    Meanwhile, in a much derided stunt in Australia, far right leader Pauline Hanson wore a full-face covering Burqa into the senate chamber. Hanson’s aim was to prohibit Muslim women from covering their faces and to get the Burqa banned in the country.

    To look at it, the Burqa is simply a veil which covers the body and face – and yet it is also sometimes associated with oppression, terrorism, and extreme religious beliefs. Some burqas only have a mesh screen for the wearer to see through. The niqab, on the other hand, is a face veil worn with a headscarf which leaves the eyes uncovered, while the hijab is a scarf which covers the head and neck. In Europe, the term “Burqa” is used to refer to women who wear robes to cover the body and face, but their eyes may be left uncovered, as seen in the main image of this article.

    Putting aside the contradiction between laws dictating what women can and cannot wear, human rights issues, and the history of women struggling to have the right to choose their own clothing, the number of Muslim women who wear the Burqa alone does not necessitate this fear, nor any expense and time in creating new laws to ban the Burqa.

    The passion to ban the Burqa is likely linked to the idea that all Muslims are synonymous with terrorism. This is evidently not the case, but the Burqa bans –when coupled with the overestimation of the number of Muslims across Europe – create a sense of being able to curtail the numbers of Muslims, and terror, by controlling what women wear.

    This is Britain. We are to a large extent ‘free’ people. Therefore they should be allowed to wear what they want. I am sick of government intervention in ever aspect of everyone’s lives! So we make the rules to promote so-called Freedom of Right and then when we come up against an issue we don’t know what to do. Typical Britain, where we do not seem to think about many things before we act in the first place. This is just the beginning. As they say when you go to Rome do what the Romans do! But we are not and will never be the Romans either.

    When I were a lad I went to Spain. Most of the nuns wore full face veils and they were HUGELY respected for their religious vows. Fast forward to 21st century Britain and we’re terrified of Muslim women in veils! Guess what? The media is constantly scaring us against them. Anti Muslim Britain or what? Who’s orchestrating it? who keeps wanting to bomb Muslim countries? You know who! Don’t hate. How is a women under a sheet a threat?

    The government must’ve gotten it’s people paranoid with its propaganda against Islam. I am more scared of my own government and policing in this country then al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda aren’t got time for my a…

  3. I find Islam to be liberating not oppressive: women are partners.

    Islam is the first religion which systematically empowered women when women were considered as totally subservient to man. There was no concept of her being an independent entity and enjoying equal right with dignity. We live in a country where women are over-sexualised and sold as ‘products’ for capitalist gains. A woman’s beauty is splashed around everywhere, and she is only judged by that. Islam tells a woman to cover up so that she is not abused as Western women are. Islam provides the security and respect to women community than other religions. The western countries are using the women as an entertainment channels. All the women in the world should think about themselves then decide what is right and what is wrong for them in other religions (than Islam)

    Qur’an does lay down certain strict norms for sexual behaviour. Both man woman have right to sexual gratification (a woman has as much right to sexual gratification as man) but within marital frame-work. There is no concept of freedom for extramarital sex in any form. Sex is permissible only with marital framework. Sex, as far as Islam is concerned, is not mere enjoyment but an act for procreation and hence has sanctity.

    It is important here to emphasize that in a patriarchal society men decided the norms of sexual behaviour. It was theorized that man has greater urge for sex and hence he needs multiple wives and woman tends to be passive and hence has to be content with one. This is not true as far as Qur’an is concerned. Qur’an’s approach is very different. It is not greater or lesser degree of sexual urge which necessitates multiple or monogamous marriage.

    Also, in western capitalist countries women’s dignity has been compromised and she has been reduced to a commodity to be exploited. Her semi-naked postures and her sexuality is exploited commercially unabashedly. It is totally against the concept of woman’s honour and dignity. Unfortunately western feminists do not consider this as objectionable but accept it as part of woman’s freedom. Some (though not many) even advocate prostitution as woman’s right to earn her bread.

    UNICEF photo of the year shows, a bridegroom, 40, with his 11-year-old bride in Afghanistan. The bridegroom is going to take care of her and their future children. UNICEF photo of the year must show that the teenage pregnancies and abortion, drug addiction, binge drinking and anti-social behaviour is on the rise in Britain. All of them are burden on British tax-payers. This is sickening. It’s no wonder Great Britain is in such a bad shape. Ten years old British girls are having babies out of wedlock. They are not allowed to get married but are allowed to have babies. Teenage pregnancy rate in Great Britain is the highest in Western Europe. It is a civilised country and Yemen is a backward country because it allows young girls to get married.

    The Holy Quran gives more rights to women than the so called western civilisation.
    Western Secularism cannot teach Muslims how to treat women. Islam teaches us how to be civilised. Islam is a middle path. Women are even abused in the UK Parliament, which is called the Mother of Parliament. It is not just verbal abuse the female MPs have had to deal with. The tradition of killing women for family honour is a “curse”. Violence against women is a global phenomenon. An Australian Judge failed to jail nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year old Aboriginal girl, by saying the victim probably agreed to have sex with them. More than half the babies born to British mothers this year will be outside marriage for the first time since records begins. There is a steady decline in marriage among British couples. Nearly all births to Pakistani mothers are within wedlock.

  4. This is not a discussion of western civilization. It is a matter of choice.

    How will you answer if a lady from west caught walking in shorts in a Muslim country? She may tell you, It is too hot here. I cant suffocate myself in your country’s dress code. I do not have air-conditioned pants or an air-conditioned burka to wear.

    I will humbly say, every country has its own sensibilities. A visitor should honor the sensibilities of other citizens. If a visitors cant, he should avoid disturbance and discord.

    A person can decide what is best for him or her.

  5. Fifty or so years ago, of the small number of Muslim women I knew, hardly any wore any head covering. It was enough that the clothes they wore were modest, a sari or shalwar kamiz. Yet most of those women and their offspring now wear the niqab or more. Sometimes it may be a matter of personal choice, but in most cases it’s pressure from more orthodox family members and the mosque. And for some it’s a matter of status, or rather assumed status. “We are superior to those not covered”. Of course, as numbers have risen in the West, the mewcomers are becoming more visible, and are causing a social divide, especially those wearing a burka. They can’t socialise freely, and make any contact very awkward. A very unnatural situation. As was mentioned above, if I were to visit a country such as orthodox Saudi Arabia, I would have to conform to their values and standards. The same should apply to those coming to the West. Even nuns in many cases don’t wear those traditional costumes any more, that does not make them any less nuns. Certain traditions need to be reformed from time to time, since we are constantly evolving. And so far as dress is concerned, the focus should be on modesty, not hiding hair and legs. Western women are no less decent because they happen to show their legs, as is the fashion now. Queen Elizabeth should be a good example of that. It is men’s attitudes that need to change.

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