Muslim women fear they could be attacked after Switzerland votes to ban burqa in public

The ban could lead to an increase in ‘Islamophobic attacks towards Muslim women’, claim activists, as Samuel Osborne reports

Saturday 03 April 2021 14:37
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<p>A poster saying 'Stop Extremism' hangs on a wall at the meeting place of the supporters of the burqa ban initiative, in Bern</p>

A poster saying 'Stop Extremism' hangs on a wall at the meeting place of the supporters of the burqa ban initiative, in Bern

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Muslim women in Switzerland fear they could be verbally or physically assaulted after the country narrowly voted in favour of banning the burqa or niqab in public places.

The ban, which will make it illegal for people to completely cover their faces, passed by 51 to 49 per cent in a public referendum on 7 March. It must now be drawn up into a bill by MPs within two years.

“I felt at a loss once more about the stupidity of such a vote, like the ban on minarets,” Rifa’at Lenzin, a Muslim woman who wears a hijab to the mosque, tells The Independent, referring to a Swiss vote on banning minarets in 2009. She says she worries the result signifies that “the majority of Swiss people are against either Islam or Muslims, or both”.

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