Switzerland’s Italian-language broadcaster RSI on Sunday revealed a partial count of votes in Italian-speaking Swiss canton (state) of Ticino which showed that 65% of the electorates have supported the measure to restrict the covering of faces in public areas by any group, including Muslims.
Referendums are the foundation of Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, where citizen-campaigners able to force votes if they collect enough signatures from voters. If the measure passes, it will be the first time that any of the 26 cantons imposes such a ban.
Widely dubbed the ‘anti-burqa’ initiative, the measure does not single out Muslims directly. But it was the brainchild of activists known for their criticism of Islamists, and has been slammed by Swiss Muslim community and Amnesty International.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2013.
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