Switzerland - The Burqa Law Vote: "Of course, it makes no sense at all!"

Switzerland – The Burqa Law Vote: “Of course, it makes no sense at all!”

“Of course, this makes no sense at all!” Hanspeter Croese laughs so happily that he’s contagious even over the phone. “Nobody in the canton wears a burqa or niqab. So there have been no fines, no convictions, and nothing at all in the past two years.”

Croese heads the St. Gallen Police Department Communications Department – he currently has to talk a lot about a law that causes no work to police officers: In the canton of St. Gallen, a two-year ban on coverage has been in place. But police have not found a single woman wearing a burqa in two years.

A similar ban may soon be in place across the country: On Sunday, the Swiss will vote on an initiative that wants the regulation to be written into the Swiss constitution that has shown to be “completely useless” in St. Gallen. It is causing a sensation in the country.

Pro-posters have been hanging across the country for weeks: in the harsh propaganda style known to the Swiss conservatives, a caricature of a woman wearing a headscarf, big eyes and an angry frown appears. Next to him, stop extremism! Yes, the prohibition of disguises.

Specifically, Article 10a must be entered into the Swiss Federal Constitution, which states: “No person may cover his face in public places or in places that everyone has access to.” Moreover: “No person may compel a person to open his face on the grounds of covering up sex.”

This is behind this initiative Switzerland The infamous Egerking Committee – an association of right-wing conservative politicians, lawyers and publishers who have made it their business to stop the “Islamization of Switzerland”.

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One of the committee’s most famous successes dates back to 2009 – at that time the Swiss said yes to an initiative that is used repeatedly to this day as a cautionary example of the legal problems that direct democracy can cause. What would happen if the majority decided minority rights by means of a referendum? More than 57 percent voted at that time Banning the construction of minarets. The ban has been in the constitution since then.

It is about the hierarchy of religions

The Egerking Committee has always been concerned with anchoring the hierarchy of religions into the constitution. For example, Managing Director Annan Lybrand says: “You can live what you want. But we have a certain dominant culture, which is Christianity. “This idea can also be found in the current proposal against the headscarf. In point 3 it says: “The law provides for exceptions. It only includes reasons for health, safety, climatic conditions and local customs. “

In other words: if you want to cover up yourself for “domestic” reasons, you can continue to do so.

According to official estimates, there are approximately 20 to 30 women in Switzerland who wear the niqab, which is the veil that only reveals the eyes. Almost all of them live in French-speaking western Switzerland. In the ThysineIt is also found at the cantonal level There has been a ban on headscarves for a number of yearsSo far, only a few tourists from the United Arab Emirates have been notified of this rule.

Lucerne religious scholar Andreas Tuncer-Zanetti feared the ban might be similar to France, It can lead to more confusion. In an interview with the “Luzerner Zeitung” newspaper Defines the “solidarity effect”. Muslim women can feel trapped in a corner and even wear a headscarf to protest the constitution which introduces more and more special rules against their religion.

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Others believe that few women who wear nakab today will not leave the house in the future. Women wearing the burqa – a piece of cloth that further obscures the eye area with a net and is known from Afghanistan – is not present in Switzerland anyway. If a person wants to force a woman to wear a veil, there are actually laws against it.

Fatigue is shared by many Muslims

Journalist Tugba Ayaz wrote for the newspaper IN Zurich Tages-Anzeiger, who appeared, spoke to practicing Muslim men and women. Your recently published report “Among Muslims” depicts a mood that many Swiss Muslims are likely to share: exhaustion. Ayaz, who grew up in a Muslim family, understood the research as an examination of her roots: “Since the lessons of the Qur’an, I have only gone to a mosque outside – to marvel at its construction. I had no impression of Muslim life in Switzerland, and I don’t feel what it looks like, “she writes.

Conversations with experts, an imam, a hijab-wearer and whoever wears a niqab (like almost anyone in Europe She wears a face veil Islam Transformed), resulting in an intricate portrait of Tuğba Ayaz. But one thing I often encountered in conversations: Prejudices and stereotypes that Muslims in Switzerland face lead to burnout. Many people, according to Ayaz, no longer feel the desire to enter this fraught dialogue. However, others see education as their duty.

For a reckless paradise, this fatigue of Muslims is a stroke of luck. Most of the opponents of the headscarf ban are on the political left – but this is also divided on the topic. Above all, it is women voters who have never voted for right-wing issues, but who sympathize with this initiative.

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For example, the feminist Regina Probst, who used to work for Terre de femmes. She says she mostly agrees Alice Schwarzer match. On the phone, she spoke of a rift with younger feminists on the issue – and asserts that it hurts her to vote with right-wing conservatives on Sunday. “The initiative has a taste and doesn’t solve any problems,” Probst admits.

Why did you vote yes anyway? “No one can deny that the burqa is misogynistic.”

This is the struggle that many voters face. Can a person be against the burqa and against preventing the burqa at the same time? What is the result message?

The obstacles to popular initiative are high in Switzerland: the constitutional amendment must be approved by the majority of voters, but also by more than half of the 26 cantons. The latest polls are expecting a close resultRecently, 49% said they want to vote in favor of the ban, and 47% are against it.

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